Lungler Buddhist Monk Abbot Accused of Bootlegging
09 January 2012: A Buddhist monk abbot in Lungler village of Thantlang Township, Chin State has been covertly engaged in trading and selling alcohol to the locals, according to confirmed sources.
The Burmese monk is accused of secretly offering alcoholic drinks for sale to the people, which has been prohibited by the local community.
One of the community leaders told Chinland Guardian: “We are gobsmacked to have learned that a religious leader gets involved in this kind of business. We have been working hard to put restrictions on alcoholic consumption among the local people but we felt like the monk has opened the back door.”
Burmese teacher Sayama Shwe Yin Htay and her husband are known to have purchased alcohol by bike from Thantlang Town to sell in Lungler village which is about 35 miles away, according to the community leader, whose name is not revealed.
Sources confirmed that the Buddhist monk and the Burmese teacher couple are secretly working together.
The Chin leader also said that the Burmese Buddhist monk has once been warned not to be involved in the non-religious business by the local authorities and Commanding Officer of Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion No. 89 based in Lungler.
“He [the monk] didn’t seem to listen to the warning. But he still secretly keeps selling alcohol. And no proper action has been taken against him on this account by the authorities,” added the local leader.
The construction of Buddhist pagoda in Lungler village, started in early 2008, was completed in July 2009 with its opening ceremony attended by seven Burmese Buddhist monks and the then Tactical Commander No. 1 General Hung Ngai (now Chief Minister of Chin State).
Locals from Lungler and its nearby villages suffered from a series of forced labour, portering, contribution, and money extortion during the building of the pagoda, according to the Chin locals.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang