Police and officials of the Department of Special Investigation held a closed-door meeting to discuss a joint operation to search the Wat Dhammakaya to arrest Phra Dhammachayo, former abbot of the temple.
The meeting was headed by Pol Gen Srivara Rangseepromnakul, deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police, and Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang, DSI chief.
After the meeting, Pol Gen Srivara told the media that the police were 80 percent sure that the embattled monk is still hiding in the temple although no one has seen him for quite some time.
However, the deputy police chief said that arresting Dhammachayo is not much a problem, but the real problem is how to prevent damage which may result from the search operation.
If the police and DSI officials fail to locate Dhammachayo in the temple, he said they would write a report saying that the monk has escaped and a manhunt will be launched to look for him and the case dossier will be submitted to the public prosecutors.
Pol Gen Srivara further said that the deadline for the embattled monk to turn himself in has not expired as earlier reported as the statute of limitations of the arrest warrant is 15 years.
Meanwhile, the DSI chief said that he would seek a search warrant from the court when all relevant agencies are ready for the search operation. In case the monk is arrested, the power to grant bail rests with the prosecutors because the case has already been sent to the prosecutors, he added.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)