Religious Affairs Ministry Targets Alleged Sex Predator for Defaming Buddhism

By Moe Moe 8 November 2017

NAYPYITAW — The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture plans to sue Khun Tan, also known as Zat Lite, who reportedly postured as the next Buddha in order to seduce young girls.

“Though the aggrieved parties have not complained, legal action should be taken considering the crime,” religious affairs minister Thura U Aung Ko told reporters at Upper House on Wednesday.

The minister was “coordinating to take action” against Khun Tan under Article 295 (A) of the Penal Code which covers malicious acts “intended to outrage religious feelings” and carries a maximum of two years’ imprisonment.

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

Khun Tan arrived when he was seven in Thaton’s Alantaya neighborhood—the area surrounding the monastery of Alantaya Sayadaw—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.

With many parents in the area being led into believing that their daughters nominally marrying Khun Tan would be a blessing, the 25-year-old man is said to have seduced many girls between 2014 and 2016.

“Besides taking actions against him, [the government] should investigate and conduct educational programs in Alantaya. Punishing Khun Tan is not enough. He has fled and we are not sure if we could arrest him. The important thing is to educate and raise the awareness of local people and get rid of those [overly religious] attitudes,” said Daw Khaing Khaing Lei, the chairperson of the Mon State Parliament Women and Child Rights Protection Committee.

Khun Tan reportedly fled to his native Hopong in Shan State’s Taunggyi District some two months ago after Mon State government arrested some trustees of Alantaya Pagoda for renovating the pagoda without official permission.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.