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THAILAND: Immigration police have been ordered to prevent Phra Dhammachayo, the former abbot of Dhammakaya Temple, from fleeing to neighboring countries, Immigration Police Bureau commissioner Lt General Nuttathorn Proesunthon said yesterday.

“The ‘modern’ system and technology of the bureau, which is linked to all exit points, will help block the fugitive monk from leaving the country,” he added.

The monk was stripped of his patriarch rank by His Majesty The King a week ago (story here).

“It’s impossible that he will be able to flee via legitimate channels. Authorities concerned are instructed to keep a close watch on travelers by land, water and air to stop the monk from getting out,” Gen Nuttathorn said.

The fugitive monk, who faces several arrest warrants, has been out of the public eye for months. The government issued an order for Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani to be a ‘controlled zone’ to facilitate a search, but the former abbot has yet to be located.

Early yesterday, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials checked a building outside the temple. Armed with a court-issued warrant, they searched the Parisuttho Building on the road along Klong Sam Canal, about two kilometers from Gates 1 and 4 of the temple, DSI deputy spokesman Major Woranan Srilam said.

Maj Woranan said there was no sign of Phra Dhammachayo during the raid.

Last week, DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang said the DSI had been tipped off that the monk fled the temple to hide at another site supplied by supporters. He told reporters that the DSI was seeking a warrant to search that location.

— The Nation