Monks attack after drink, drugs

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - A Cambodian Buddhist monk was in hospital and his colleague was under detention on Thursday at a pagoda after a drug and alcohol fuelled fight allegedly ended in one attacking the other with a machete.

Police chief of Kandaing district in the central province of Pursat, Pen Thun, said after a night spent binging on methamphetamines and rice wine, the pair had quarrelled over a 50 cent loan owed to Khieu Aen, 23, that fellow monk Van Chanthoeun, 19, said he would need time to repay.

"Khieu Aen became enraged, produced a machete and chopped Chanthoeun once in the shoulder, requiring him to be sent to hospital," Thun said. "It is unseemly behaviour for monks and it gives the police a headache dealing with such cases."

He said police were now waiting for the ministry of cults and religions to make a decision on the case as the police cannot arrest monks.

"We have to wait for the ministry to decide whether there is a case and if so to strip them of their robes before we can go any further," Thun said.

The ministry of cults and religions investigates cases where Buddhist monks may have acted in a way that brings the state religion, practiced by around 95% of Cambodians, into disrepute.