Man jailed for blackmailing Buddhist monk over affair

TN News

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A Da Nang court sentenced Le Hong Thai, 48, to eight years in jail on Wednesday, for blackmailing a Buddhist monk with photographs related to the latter's alleged affairs with a woman.

Last year, Thai secretly followed 59-year-old Hua Van Tien in October-November collecting information and photographs of his relationship with a woman from Thua Thien-Hue identified only as L.

Tien, whose Buddhist name is Phap Tien, is a senior monk in the town's Tam Bao Pagoda.

Thai demanded VND250 million (US$11,970) from Tien in exchange for silence.

The monk paid him VND70 million in two installments before Thai was arrested.

At the court, Thai plead guilty to most of the charges but claimed he had not blackmailed Tien. Instead, he said, the monk had voluntarily given him money to safeguard his secret.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the court during the televised trial.

Investigators said Thai had two previous robbery convictions and has already served 17 years in prison.

A source told Vietweek that the Da Nang Buddhism Association is awaiting further information before taking action against Tien.

He is an alternate delegate on the Da Nang Buddhism Association's administrative committee.

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