(From AFP)

Thousands of supporters of a wealthy and controversial Thai Buddhist sect rallied at the temple’s space-age headquarters Thursday to successfully see off an attempt by police to arrest the movement’s elderly abbot on fraud charges.

A monk from the controversial Dhammakaya temple surrounded by members of the Department of Special Investigation  in Bangkok

The long simmering spat between investigators and the powerful Wat Dhammakaya temple in northern Bangkok is the latest clash to reveal bitter political ruptures at the heart of Thailand’s national faith — and law enforcement’s seeming inability to confront monks accused of crimes.

Historically, secular authorities have been reluctant to intervene in the affairs of the clergy.

But a series of recent scandals and corruption probes engulfing various temples — including allegations of monks flying in private jets, having sex and trafficking animal parts — has generated calls for greater oversight.

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