BANGKOK (AFP) – Thai police said Wednesday they had arrested two monks for procuring a 14-year-old boy to perform sexual acts with an abbot, in the latest scandal to shake the kingdom's Buddhist clergy.
The pair, who deny any knowledge of the alleged abuse, could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, Police Colonel Wirachon Bunthawi told AFP from the northern city of Chiang Mai.
"The abbot is still at the temple and we're waiting for an arrest warrant for him," Wirachon said.
Based on the accounts of the victim and a driver, the two monks -- aged 20 and 23 -- are alleged to have taken the boy to see the abbot at the temple in Chiang Dao district in the Chiang Mai Province several times since February, police said.
The case comes in the wake of recent controversy in the Buddhist-dominated nation over footage posted on YouTube of three monks flying in a private jet, wearing earphones and sunglasses and travelling with a Louis Vuitton bag.
The video prompted debate over monks' adherence to austere principles which include living without possessions, beyond a handful of robes.
Thailand's Buddhist clergy has been hit by a series of scandals involving monks, with local media reporting cases of drug-taking, drinking, gambling and visiting prostitutes.