In the wake of scandals involving drunk monks, fake monks and awful abbots, Thai monks will now be forced to carry chip-embedded smart ID cards.
Starting in October, ID cards will be issued within three months of ordination. It’s been proposed that the same federal system that issues Thai national ID cards, which feature embedded chips, be used to issue monk IDs as a way to standardize production and control costs, reported Bangkok Post.
Thai monks have long carried paper identification documents, but these are easy to falsify and difficult to verify.
The smart IDs will identify a monk by temple, duties, ordination date, promotions, and criminal history. Officials are still considering whether or not to include personal information, such as name and birthdate, since the monk should be identifiable with or without this information.
Ormsin Chivapruck, a minister at Prayuth Chan-ocha’s office, said that the initiative is a way for police and other officials to easily identify monks, who wear the same garb and carry little.
The move is directly related to many scandals over the last few years involving monk impersonation, abuse of drugs and alcohol by monks, suspected financial and ethical crimes by high-ranking abbots, and other cases of monks acting, well, not very holy.
Ormsin has met with high-ranking Buddhist officials from the Sangha Supreme Council and has their support, as well as that of the department of provincial administration.