Police hunting for monk increase pressure on Thai temple

Police in Thailand who spent three days in an orderly but unsuccessful search of a vast Buddhist temple for a prominent monk accused of financial wrongdoing appear to be preparing to force their way in.

Around 3,000 police searched the Dhammakaya sect temple north of Bangkok from Thursday through Saturday, seeking its chief, Phra Dhammajayo, who is accused of accepting $40 million in embezzled money.

Both security forces and Dhammajayo's followers gathered in growing numbers at the temple Sunday after the Department of Special Investigation — Thailand's FBI — ordered all people not residing there to leave. Numbers on both sides were difficult to estimate.

The police are operating under an emergency order issued Thursday by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha allowing them to shortcut normal legal procedures in their operation.