More than 200 Buddhist followers in Khun Rang’s Serey village of Kampong Chhnang province’s Boribor district gathered at Ang Serey pagoda to protest and demand that the relevant authorities expel acting chief monk Bou Chanmony for alleged misconduct that degraded Buddhism.

Khun Rang commune police chief Kim Sophat told The Post on August 8 that for over a year now people have been dissatisfied with Chanmony, accusing him of taking money donated to the pagoda at Pchum Ben, New Year and Kathin ceremonies for his own personal use.

Sophat said Chanmony has denied the charges, claiming that he only accepted money people gave to him personally for religious services.

He said the villagers vowed not to attend ceremonies at Ang Serey pagoda until the authorities evict Chanmony from the premises.

Thong Meak, head of the social affairs office in Boribor district, told The Post that the dispute between the Buddhist laymen and the acting chief monk started more than a year ago. But when the authorities held a meeting on the controversy, the villagers did not participate and put the burden on them and the pagoda’s committee.

“On August 7, the villagers suddenly were in conflict with Venerable Chanmony again, warning that they would not participate in offering alms to monks at this pagoda if Chanmony was still there,” he said.

Boribor district deputy chief monk Leng Roeun said that five years ago both the local authorities and the pagoda’s committee brought Chanmony over from Wat Trapeang Chan without asking permission from the district sub-committee.

“On the morning of August 8, I was assigned to settle the dispute, but the villagers did not come; only Chanmony was present. Chanmony said he would not go anywhere because he was innocent and he asked me to help provide justice for him. I have made a report to the provincial monk chief,” he said.