A disgraced former Buddhist monk was formally charged with child sex offenses in Bangkok Wednesday night after having been extradited back to his homeland from the U.S.
Wirapol Sukphol, formerly Nen Kham, became notorious in 2013 when a YouTube video appeared to show him on a private jet with a designer bag and sunglasses.
Later in 2013 he was accused of having sex with an under-aged girl and fled to the US soon afterwards.
Wirapol Sukphol fled Thailand after being expelled from the Sangha, or community of monks, in late 2013. As per the reports that he was accused of having sex — a grave breach of monastic precepts — with an underage girl.
Before the child abuse allegations surfaced, Wirapol was already notorious. Earlier in 2013 he had appeared in a YouTube video wearing aviator sunglasses aboard a private jet and was subsequently dubbed “the jet-set monk” in various news outlets; an unseemly image for a supposedly austere member of the clergy to project.
The former monk faces charges of child molestation and child abduction. He is also charged with money laundering and fraud after investigators say millions of dollars of assets were discovered in his name.
He arrived on Wednesday in Bangkok wearing clerical garments despite being expelled from the monkhood.
The case is one of a number of recent morality scandals that has shaken the reputation of the Sangha, which — along with the monarchy and the nation — is one of the three traditional pillars of Thai society.