Leader of Taiwanese Buddhist youth group expelled over sex and drugs scandal

  • Kai Hong, secretary general of Chinese Young Buddhist Association filmed in bedroom romp
  • Monk says film was released by his former temple as part of a smear campaign linked to a property dispute
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, 7:46pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, 9:19pm

The head of a Buddhist youth organisation in Taiwan has been expelled from his temple after becoming embroiled in a sex and drugs scandal, according to local media.

Video footage of Kai Hong, secretary general of the Chinese Young Buddhist Association in the self-ruled island, romping naked on a bed with another man and smoking amphetamines, was published online by Taiwan’s Mirror Media.

The report did not say where or when the film was shot but quoted an unnamed source as saying Kai was a long-time drug user who held “sex parties” with other Buddhists at Tongshan Temple, where he was based.

Authorities at the temple, in the Gongguan township on Taiwan’s northwest coast, said the 29-year-old was expelled on November 13 for “religious discipline problems”.

Two months before the expulsion, Kai had relocated to the Miaoli Chongfo Temple in nearby Miaoli county with “dozens of believers”, the report said.

Considered a rising star in Buddhism in Taiwan, Kai was an influential figure among younger devotees and frequently gave lectures at summer camps.

Despite the video footage, Kai has denied any wrongdoing and said the footage was released as part of a smear campaign led by Tongshan Temple, with which he is involved in a property dispute. Local police are investigating the incident.

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The online report said the film was leaked by a spurned former lover of Kai who was also a monk at Tongshan Temple. The man claimed to have downloaded 200 gigabytes of video footage from the computer of another of Kai’s lovers, and forwarded three sex clips to the temple authorities.

In some sections of the footage, Kai speaks directly to the camera, apparently while under the influence of drugs, while in others he appears to be recording the action himself.

Meanwhile, the head of the governing body for Buddhism in Taiwan has sought to distance himself from the scandal, the official Central News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The Venerable Jing Yao, chairman of the Buddhist Association of China in Taiwan, confirmed in a statement that Kai had been disciplined, but added that his behaviour was in no way linked to himself, the temple or the governing body.

“I deeply regret that the unlawful conduct of Kai Hong has caused a negative backlash against the Buddhist world,” Jing said in the statement released by Cifa Temple in New Taipei City. “I also feel deeply ashamed that I did not inspect his behaviour as a fellow Buddhist monk.”

He said also that he had sought legal advice after being accused by a local newspaper of turning a blind eye to Kai’s activities, who was once his student.

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The scandal is not the first involving the Buddhist Association of China this year. In August, the organisation’s then chairman, the Venerable Xuecheng, was accused of sexually assaulting female monks at Longquan Temple in Beijing.

Xuecheng, China’s highest-ranking Buddhist, was forced to resign as head abbot of the temple and investigated by police, in what was seen as a victory for China’s #MeToo movement.