Thai court charges disgraced ‘jet-set monk’ with rape

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BANGKOK: A Thai court charged a disgraced former monk Thursday with the rape of an underage girl, fraud and money laundering, after he was extradited from the United States. Wiraphon Sukphon, 37, was arrested on arrival at Bangkok’s main airport late Wednesday from the US where he established an unofficial Buddhist teaching center after fleeing Thailand in 2013.He faces a total of five charges, including raping a minor under 15 years old, which carries a jail term of up to 20 years. “The Criminal Court has accepted to hear the case against Wiraphon,” Worranan Srilum, a spokesman for the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) police unit, told Agence France-Presse. “The defendant did not apply for bail.” Thailand is an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation with around 300,000 men in orange robes, but the clergy are beset by high-profile scandals.

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