Jet-setting monk being brought back to Thailand
Discraced ex-monk coming back to Thailand after 13 years facing charges for fraud and sex with minors
Disgraced former monk Nen Kham, wanted in Thailand on arrest warrants for public fraud and sex with underage girls, will be escorted back from the US to Thailand, arriving on Wednesday night, to face charges.
Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Paisit Wongmuang said on Tuesday that Wirapol Sukphol, 38, formerly Nen Kham, had not filed an appeal after a California court approved his extradition.
A team of prosecutors and DSI officials were dispatched to the US to bring Mr Wirapol back to Thailand. They were expected to arrive around 11pm on Wednesday, said Pol Col Paisit, according to Thai media.
Mr Wirapol, whose monastic name was Luang Pu Nen Kham Chattiko, is wanted by the DSI on charges including money laundering, child abduction and raping a girl aged under 15.
He fled the country in 2013 and authorities applied for his extradition in 2016 following reports he was granted permanent residency in the US. He was arrested by US authorities in July last year.
Mr Wirapol gained a reputation as the “jet-setting monk”, capturing people’s attention in 2013 following the release of video clips showing him travelling aboard a private jet as a monk. He carried a Louis Vuitton bag, wore brand-name sunglasses, flashed cash and was found to own more than 100 luxury cars and numerous large blocks of land.
As Nen kham, he was abbot of Khantitham forest monastery in Kanthararom district of Si Sa Ket province.
He was expelled from the monkhood in absentia after fleeing, for inappropriate conduct including having sex, boasting of supernatural powers and having a high-flying lifestyle. The DSI earlier seized 380 million baht worth of his assets.