Vietnamese male singer punished for kissing monks

TN News

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A male pop singer has been fined VND5 million (US$240) for kissing two monks on the lips and hand at a charity auction in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month.

Dam Vinh Hung kissed a 24-year-old monk on his lips and an older one, who shied away, on his hand, on November 4 to raise funds for a sick singer. Hung had auctioned a bottle of wine and said the buyer would get a kiss from him.

In the event, he kissed the monks since they represented the unidentified buyer.

Hung was slapped with the maximum prescribed fine for "taking advantage of public events to commit improper acts or make offensive statements," according to the culture ministry.

The act sparked public anger, with many demanding a stiffer penalty and even a temporary ban on his performances.

But ministry inspectors said they had to follow regulations.

Hung has apologized and promised not to repeat his act.

The younger monk Thursday asked his monastery in the southern province of Dong Nai to release him from monastic life, citing family difficulties, Tien Phong newspaper reported.

His request was granted and the monastery gave him back his birth name Phan Van Trien. He had been a monk for nine years.

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The monastery had earlier decided to confine the two monks to their rooms without human contact for three months as punishment for the "inappropriate" kisses.

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