MAE HONG SON — Two Russians have been arrested for allegedly breaking into a temple in northern Thailand and dressing as Buddhist monks, police in Mae Hong Son province say.
Police received calls for help from the abbot of Wat Mae Yen temple in Pai district at around 7 am this morning. Upon arriving at the scene, officers encountered two foreign men dressed as monks sitting inside a chapel with knives on their laps.
After an hour of negotiation, the pair surrendered to police and were taken to Pai Police Station for interrogation.
Pol.Col. Worapol Polmanee, superintendent of Pai Police Station, identified the two men as Russian nationals. He said urine tests have established that the two men were under the influence of narcotics.
Phra Visakha, the abbot of Wat Mae Yen Temple, told police the two men entered the temple compound late last night and proceeded to damage the prayer hall’s doors, a water cooler, and a soft drink kiosk from which they stole 1,000 baht. It is believed that the two men stole the monk robes from a closet inside the temple.
“They looked like they were really high on some drugs,” the abbot said.
Pol.Col. Worapol said the two Russians have been charged with damaging property and intrusion at night. He told reporters that police have to interrogate other witnesses before they can charge the suspects with additional crimes.
Pai is a popular tourist destination for Thai and foreign tourists.