In Thailand, a Buddhist temple was left without monks after the clerics serving there all tested positive for methamphetamine and were immediately defrocked, a local official said on Tuesday.
The four monks, including an abbot, from the temple in Bung Sam Phan rural district, Phetchabun province were tested for drugs on Monday.
Tests revealed the presence of methamphetamine, said district official Boonlert Thintapthai.
The monks were sent to a clinic for drug treatment, the official said.
Read alsoIn Thailand, the city where the Buddha is king
The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are worried that they cannot do merit ceremonies
,” he added.
Achieving merit involves devotees giving food to monks as a good deed.
Boonlert Thintapthai said other monks would be sent to the temple to enable the villagers to fulfill their religious obligations.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Thailand is a major transit country for methamphetamine flowing from Shan State, Myanmar, via Laos.
On the street, the pills sell for less than 20 baht (about 50 euro cents).
Authorities across Southeast Asia have made record methamphetamine seizures in recent years.