Business, Finance & Economics

Thailand: monks on meth

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A young boy watching Buddhist monks in Thailand's northern border town of Chiang Khong.

Credit:

CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT

If there is a substance that contradicts Buddhism's promotion of gentleness and moderation, it's probably meth.

But in Thailand, a 95 percent Buddhist nation, the press of late has been filled with accounts of monks busted for using and even selling speed tablets.

The latest case, reported in the Bangkok Post, involves two monks attempting to ditch 20 meth pills at a police checkpoint. 

That's nothing compared to the monk, profiled in the Thai-language paper Kom Chat Luk, arrested recently for dealing speed at his temple.

Both are outdone by the seven monks who, according to the Thai-language Daily News, scored 10 bottles of booze, 25 "perverse" video discs and a stash of speed and ice in preparation for a "drug party." Yet another senior monk, when caught selling speed, claimed he needed the money to refurbish his temple.

Opium use is fading and cheap meth is well established as Southeast Asia's hard drug of choice. It appears that even monks, among the most revered figures in Thai society, aren't immune from the lure of this $6 high.