TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A self-professed "monk" from Cambodia, faces deportation after being charged by over a dozen women with sexual assault and profiting from his religious teachings.
Over a dozen of his victims, all Cambodian immigrant women, have accused a Cambodian self-titled "monk," identified as Shih Ching-liang (釋精良), of coercing them into sexual acts that in many cases resulted in the breakup of their marriages. Shih has also been accused of eschewing the ascetic lifestyle expected of a monk with a mansion, car, and family, and using his status as a religious figure to profit from his followers.
According to Mirror Media, Shih came to Taiwan over 10 years ago and trained at the Yuan Kuang Buddhist College in Taoyuan for three years to become a monk. Shih soon exploited the venerated status of Buddhist monks in Cambodia to build a large following of Cambodian immigrants in Taoyuan.
Shih then allegedly began to target his female Cambodian followers and coerce them into performing sexual acts, often leading to conflicts with their Taiwanese husbands. None of his followers spoke of the incidents, until some victims recently stepped forward, opening the door for many more accounts of his misdeeds.
Shih (right). (Facebook image)
Shih, who has obtained permanent residence in Taiwan, has also been discovered to own a luxurious mansion in Taoyuan and has a wife and son, according to Mirror Media. A victim identified as "Nana" (娜娜) told the news agency that many temples would invite Shih to recite sutras and give him red envelopes with NT$5,000 (US$162) to NT$6,000 (US$194) inside.
Nana said Shih would drive from temple to temple in this way, often concealing his wife and son his his car. She said that he would use the excuse of preaching Buddhism to molest his female followers, which she considered truly abhorrent.
Nana emphasized that, regardless of whether this was in Taiwan or Cambodia, his behavior was not in keeping with the real teachings of Buddhism, and that he was a religious fraud. Nana went on to say that Shih's actions were a disgrace to the nation that "ruins Buddhism," but she felt that complaining to the National Immigration Agency (NIA) or religious units was useless.
Shih's alleged son and wife. (Facebook image)
However, the NIA issued a press release saying that it had received public complaints from new residents about the matter and are currently investigating the case. The agency said that if the allegations are verified, Shih's residence permit will be revoked and he will be deported from the country for violating Article 36 of the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法).