‘Three Robes and an Alms Bowl’ Court Fails to Freeze Wirathu’s Assets Because He ‘Doesn’t Have Any’

An attempt by a court to freeze the assets of ultranationalist fugitive monk Wirathu has failed because officials were told he doesn’t own any property.

Yangon’s Western District Court last week sent State Sangha and other government officials to his monastery in Mandalay to bring his belongings under the jurisdiction of the court.

But they were turned away by the presiding monk of Wirathu’s Masoeyein Taikthit monastery, who told the officials that Wirathu owns nothing but three robes and an alms bowl, and that everything else he had used at the monastery was the property of the Sangha.  

“The car was donated… it is not his property. He can’t take it even if he leaves the monastery. It is Sangha-owned property. That’s what (the presiding monk) said,” said Htay Kyaw, one of the officials.

Wirathu has evaded arrest on charges of sedition since May after he gave a speech in Yangon in which he attacked the government. He faces up to 20 years in prison if caught.

Associate judge Kyaw Kyaw said the attempt to freeze his assets was aimed at forcing him to appear before court.

The court has repeatedly rescheduled his hearings and has even heard from prosecution witnesses and reached a ruling against him in his absence.

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