Novice Attempts to Burn Down Monastery on First Day

Police inspect the room of a new monk who attempted to light the monastery on fire in Songkhla, 27 June 2015.

SONGKHLA — Police in southern Thailand say they have arrested a novice who allegedly attempted to burn down a monastery after smoking marijuana early this morning.

The 16-year-old, who became a novice the day before, reportedly smashed Buddha figurines and other objects in his room at Sri Withetsanghkaram Temple at around 3:00am, and then attempted to set the monastery on fire, said Pol.Col. Kittichai Sankhathaworn, superintendent of Sadao Police Station in Songkhla province.

Other monks at the temple reportedly noticed the smoke and quickly put out the flames. 

The 16-year-old novice was heavily intoxicated and in a confrontational mood when police arrived at the temple, the officer said. After 10 minutes of negotiation, he reportedly gave up and agreed to go to the police station for interrogation.

Pol.Col. Kittichai said the novice, who has been charged with property damage, confessed to smoking marijuana earlier that night and said he lost control of himself. He also expressed a wish to leave his studies at the temple, the officer told reporters.

CORRECTION: The original article mistakenly reported that the 16-year-old was a monk, when in fact he was a novice preparing for the monkhood.

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