DSI and police encircle Dhammakaya temple

Almost a thousand of police and officials from the Department of Special Investigation encircled the Dhammakaya temple before dawn today in a new effort to arrest it's former abbot Phra Dhammachayo who is believed to be still in the temple.

Among the five companies of police are anti-riot police and provincial police from Pathumthani, Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi, Saraburi and Samut Prakarn.

Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) police also joined the operation which is aimed at blocking all exits and entrances to the temple in order to pressure the stubborn former abbot to surrender.

Earlier yesterday the acting abbot of the temple turned himself in to police to face charges for aiding and providing hideout for Phra Dhammachayo.

He was later granted temporary release on bail by the Criminal Court.

By late this morning a hundred of followers of the former abbot came out to observe the police action.

Most of them wore dust masks to conceal their faces. Many also used motorcycles to block a road around the temple in the bid to prevent the police and the DSI officials to encircle the temple at all gates.

Police have to tell them to remove all their motorcycles as the road they blocked is public road, with warning that all the vehicles will be seized, and owners would need to produce document to reclaim their vehicles.

At press time, the police are still awaiting order from their superior whether to enter the temple or not.

The temple is placed under maximum guarding with thousands of followers gathering at various places inside the temple in what they said were to practise meditation.

But authorities said they were forming human barricades in their effort to protect Phra Dhammachayo.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)