MAWLAMYINE, Mon State — The Mon State government has issued a warrant for the arrest of Khun Tan, who reportedly claimed to be the next Buddha and seduced young girls to have sex with him, said Mon State chief minister Dr Aye Zan.
“We’ve issued an arrest warrant for him for defaming Buddhism. Khun Tan has, however, escaped, but we’ve got five of his accomplices,” Dr. Aye Zan told The Irrawaddy.
Khun Tan, also known as Zat Lite, has reportedly fled to Hopong in Shan State’s Taunggyi District, and the Mon State government is cooperating with the Shan State government to apprehend him, he added.
According to Pa-O ethnic Ko Khun Aung Myo Thein, a resident of Mon State’s Thaton, Khun Tan was born in Kone Tha village in Hopong Township and arrived in Thaton around 18 years ago when he was seven.
Local Pa-O people were led to believe that he was the reincarnation of Alantaya Sayadaw Ashin Sakka—a Pa-O ethnic monk who was quite influential and respected among not only Pa-O people but also across the country.
“As far as I’m concerned, Khun Tan could not speak Burmese well. I believe he won’t declare himself to be the reincarnation of Alantaya Sayadaw. But I don’t know if there are people who are fabricating information,” Ko Khun Aung Myo Thein told The Irrawaddy.
Khun Tan allegedly convinced Pa-O parents living in the Alantaya religious area—the area surrounding the monastery of Alantaya Sayadaw—that their daughters would be blessed if they have sex with him after they reach puberty.
According to Pa-O ethnic affairs minister of Mon State government Daw San Wint Khaing, such cases began in 2012, and Khun Tan has allegedly slept with hundreds of girls mostly aged around 15.
Ko Khun Aung Myo Thein explained that according to tradition of Pa-O people, persons who are destined to face ill fortune according to their horoscopes can avert it by nominally marrying a person who is believed to have good fortune.
“So, there is such a tradition. But marrying is jut nominal and it doesn’t include sex,” he said.
Ko Khun Aung Myo Thein however objected to the term used by media “offering of virginity” to describe Khun Tan’s alleged sex with young girls and said that he had no comment if or not Khun Tan has actually slept with them.
Dr. Aye Zan said his government has been shadowing Khun Tan for two months, and has a record of his offences, but could not take actions against him as no one filed a lawsuit.
“The problem was that such a case needs to be filed by the girls. But girls didn’t file a complaint, and it is difficult for us to intervene,” said Dr. Aye Zan.
However, on Oct. 2, a complaint was filed with the Mon State Parliament Women and Child Rights Protection Committee, saying that Khun Tan had seduced five girls, aged between 16 and 18, in Alantaya religious area and three surrounding villages to marry him.
“Since the locals are very poorly educated, they believed that he was the Buddha-to-be and offering virgin sex would bring [their daughters] good luck,” ethnic affairs minister Daw San Wint Khaing told The Irrawaddy.
According to her, Khun Tan either paid or threatened girls in Alantaya religious area to have sex with him.
Thaton District General Administration Department is interrogating the administrator of Zayit Chaung village for allegedly covering up two rape cases committed by Khun Tan, district commissioner U Teza Aung told The Irrawaddy.
Daw Khaing Khaing Lei, chairperson of Mon State Parliament Women and Child Rights Protection Committee, and Pa-O ethnic affairs minister Daw San Wint Khaing have received messages of death threats on social media following the disclosure of the case.
Union minister for Religious Affairs and Culture U Aung Ko has told reporters in Naypyitaw that his ministry would definitely take action against Khun Tan.