Former Holy man, Wirapol Sukphol, has been on the run for three years
A former Thai monk has finally been arrested by US authorities three years after he fled Thailand.
Wirapol Sukphol, who used to be known as Luang Pu Nen Kham was wanted by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on charges of breaching the Computer Crimes Act, money laundering, child abduction and raping a girl aged below 15.
DSI Chief Paisit Wongmuang said that American authorities notified the department this morning that the fugitive had been arrested. The DSI and the Office of the Attorney General were working closely, seeking his extradition.
“We will await for the US court to notify us what charges the suspect is facing. He will be allowed to exercise his right to appeal our extradition request and to fight the case before being sent back to Thailand. This process requires a certain period of time,’’ the DSI chief said.
Wirapol is also known as the jet-setting monk, due to the infamous video footage from 2013 showing him travelling aboard a private jet whilst dressed as monk, carrying a Louis Vuitton bag and sporting branded sunglasses. Wirapol was found to own more than 100 luxury cars and a large amount of land.
The fugitive fled Thailand in 2013 and reportedly took refuge in France, before moving to Los Angeles where he intended to establish a new religious act. He was reported to have been spotted in Hawaii in May 2016, but the claim was not confirmed. He was expelled from monkhood in absentia due to his criminal behaviour and high-flying lifestyle.
Authorities had reportedly seized a total of 380 million baht from his bank accounts, but Wirapol was still able to take cash and gold out of the country. DSI deputy chief Pol Lt Col Pong-in Intarakhao said that there is a high chance that the ex-monk will be extradited back to Thailand for trial and that these extradition procedures have already been completed by authorities who have issued the necessary documents.