A combined force of Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials, military personnel and forest officials raided two luxury homes on a hill in Takua Thung district of Phang Nga province in search of the fugitive Phra Dhammachayo, former abbot of Dhammachayo temple, but failed to locate him.
The raid at the two homes followed a tip-off that Phra Dhammachayo may be hiding in the property which belongs to one of his faithful disciples said to be a telecom tycoon.
However he was not located as the team was not allowed to enter the premise. Only a handful of authorities were allowed in to the large property covering a total of 39 rai.
DSI chief Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang admitted that officials has earlier received information that Phra Dhammachayo was hiding there.
Although the fugitive could not be located but DSI discovered that the property encroached on forestry area.
The airborne and ground operation began at 7.00am yesterday.
However authorities could not get into the property as the gate was locked.
From the gate to the top of the hill, it is 2.8 kilometre long concrete road and walkway.
By 10.00am the caretaker of the residence then allowed authorities to enter the premise. But only four officers were given permission to while the rest were not permitted, including media representatives.
Authorities took more than four hours to get to the two residences and search but there was no trace of the fugitive Phra Dhammachayo. They found only pictures of the former abbot posing with his disciple.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)