THAILAND’S Department of Special Investigation now believes the abbot of Dhammakaya Temple has fled and will soon lift its blockade, a police spokesman said today (March 11).
Three weeks of siege ended on Friday with the search of an unfinished hospital where Dhammajayo, the 72-year-old abbot, was thought to be hiding.
The monk was nowhere to be found, and authorities now say they’ve run out of places to search inside the sprawling temple complex on the outskirts of Bangkok, the Thai-language daily Matichon reported.
Security forces will still maintain a presence around the temple, but the DSI is planning to lift its blockade and permit access to the temple soon, the spokesman said.
Dhammajayo has not been seen in public since May, when he was charged with embezzlement and money laundering.
Top: A Thai soldier takes a photograph during the search of the Dhammakaya Temple complex. Photograph: Narong Sangnak/EPA via The Guardian