China: 3 arrested over stabbing death of British Tibetan monk


This photo taken on March 11, 2012 shows a Tibetan monk outside the restive Kirti monastery in China's southwestern province of Sichuan.



Police in southwestern China arrested three people over the suspected stabbing deaths of a British Tibetan monk and two others earlier this week.

Tarap Shetrup Akong, also known as Akong Tulku Rinpoche, was allegedly killed by three Tibetans at his home in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, on Tuesday after a dispute over money turned violent.

His nephew and driver also died in the attack.

The London Evening Standard reported the police statement said the suspects “went to the victims' home to negotiate at 11 a.m. on the day of the case. The two parties had a verbal quarrel and fight. Three suspects then stabbed the three victims. After the arrest, the three suspects confessed the killing of the three victims.”

There were no further details about the suspects. The Foreign Office in London confirmed the death of a British citizen on Oct. 8.

Akong, whom the Associated Press described as “respected Tibetan monk,” fled his Himalayan homeland in 1959 around the time of a failed uprising against Chinese Communist rule. It was the same year that the Dalai Lama escaped to India and established the Tibetan Government in Exile at Dharamsala.

He moved to Britain in 1963 and co-founded the Samye Ling Monastery in southern Scotland in 1967, which is reportedly the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the West.

Akong’s younger brother, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, said in a statement posted on the monastery’s website that Akong has been taken to hospital where a post mortem would be carried out. 

“We will have to do a lot of special prayers and make a lot of appropriate offerings on Rinpoche’s behalf and any contributions you wish to make in his name will be much appreciated,” the statement said.

Despite fleeing Tibet, Akong maintained contact with Chinese authorities and travelled to the region regularly to do charity work. He was widely respected by Tibetans.

“He was kind and astute, and earned the respect of the community,” Tibetan writer and activist Tsering Woeser told the AP.

More from GlobalPost: 60 Wounded by police during Tibet protest

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