The Irrawaddy

Arrest Warrant Stalls for Alleged Sex Predator Who Claimed to be Next Buddha

MAWLAMYINE, Mon State — A 25-year-old man who reportedly postured as the next Buddha in order to seduce young girls is yet to be detained despite state government calls for his arrest.

Khun Tan of Mon State’s Thaton Township convinced local Pa-O people he was the reincarnation of influential and respected Pa-O monk Alantaya Sayadaw Ashin Sakka, according to reports.

With many parents in the area believing that their daughters sleeping with Khun Tan would be a blessing, he is said to have seduced hundreds of girls, mostly aged around 15.

Mon State government was planning to issue an arrest warrant against him but was stalled as none of the girls reportedly targeted by Khun Tan has reported him to police for rape or sexual assault.

“Khun Tan is not on the arrest warrant list of the government because no one filed a lawsuit against him,” said Daw Khaing Khaing Lei, the chairperson of Mon State Parliament Women and Child Rights Protection Committee.

Khun Tan holding a gun in a jungle in Karen State. (The Irrawaddy)

Khun Tan arrived when he was seven in Thaton, where Pa-O custom advises that a bride thought to be born ill fated can be rebalanced by nominally marrying a man who has good astrological influence.

“I can’t establish a case as a guardian of my daughters. My wife and daughters have given him their lives and virginity. If they say Khun Tan didn’t even touch them, it is difficult for me to file complaint,” said U Win Nyunt, whose two daughters had nominal marriages with Khun Tan.

After the nominal marriage ceremony, Khun Tan took his two daughters to Shan State for about 10 days. In his ward alone, there were seven girls who had nominal marriages with Khun Tan.

“Some parents were even upset that Khun Tan didn’t marry their daughter,” said U Win Nyunt.

The head of Thaton central police station confirmed to The Irrawaddy that the police station has not received any complaint against him over the last two months or in the past.

In August, Mon State government arrested five monks, who were the members of Alantaya Pagoda Board of Trustees and supporters of Khun Tan, after they defied the order of the Mon State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee—the state Buddhist authority—to stop repairing the pagoda without official permission.

Alantaya Pagoda. (The Irrawaddy)

The trustees were remodeling the pagoda after Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda. The state government has sought permission from Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture to arrest two more trustees of the pagoda.

“Complaints were only filed against the trustees, and not against Khun Tan. So, Khun Tan was not under warrant,” said Daw Khaing Khaing Lei.

Khun Tan reportedly fled to his native Hopong in Shan State’s Taunggyi District some two months ago after the arrest of the trustees.

Thaton District General Administration Department is interrogating the administrator of Zayit Chaung village in Alantaya Religious Area for allegedly covering up a rape case committed by Khun Tan, according to the district commissioner.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.