DSI : Abbot may not be involved in use of image
The abbot of Wat Suthas Thepwararam may not be involved in the unauthorised use of an engraved royal crown image on the Phra Somdej Nue Hua amulets, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) said yesterday. Sansern Palawatwichai, chief of the DSI's consumer protection office, said abbot Phra Wisutthathibodi told investigators that the amulet's maker, Sitthikorn Boonchim _ also known as Sia Ood _ had shown him his design for the engraved crown image.
The image resembles the grand crown of His Majesty the King.
The abbot said he had only expressed satisfaction with the design, and nothing more. DSI officials recently went to the temple to question the senior monk about the use of the image.
Although the Buddha amulets were produced with the consent of Wat Suthas Thepwararam, a temple under royal patronage, the crown image was used without the palace's authorisation.
The abbot's personal satisfaction with the design was not a reason to charge him, said Mr Sansern.
The Royal Household Bureau earlier recommended the prosecution of the amulet producer on the grounds he had falsely stated that the palace supported the production of the amulets with the engraved royal crown image on the back.
Mr Sansern said Mr Sitthikorn had lived at Wat Suthas Thepwararam as a temple boy and was also ordained there as a novice.
The DSI has yet to determine how the temple and its Atthama Rachanusorn Foundation were involved in the production of the amulets.
Mr Sitthikorn met Mr Sansern yesterday to acknowledge the fraud charge against him. The DSI will question him next week after examining documents they collected from Mr Sitthikorn's Diamond Hill Co.
The producer earlier launched a big sales campaign for the amulets. The selling points were the crown image and royal flowers used as material in producing the amulets.
The orders for the amulets were placed through channels including Thailand Post, the Krung Thai Bank, Thai Military Bank and Siam City Bank.
The orders placed at Thailand Post alone were valued at more than 100 million baht..