Updated: 20/02/17 : 12:28:47
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World :: Thai monks clash with police at temple

Scuffles broke  out in a tense stand-off between Thai monks and police at the Dhammakaya Temple.

The clashes broke out as monks and temple devotees defied police orders and continued to gather at the temple north of Bangkok this morning, Monday.

The stand-off began on Thursday when police launched a search for the temple's former abbot, Phra Dhammajayo, who is wanted for alleged money-laundering.

It prompted thousands of devotees to show up in defence of the abbot, in scenes similar to a 2016 stand-off when police attempted a search.

Some monks were injured in this morning's scuffles and were led away for treatment. No major injuries have been reported so far.

Mass prayer sessions were conducted outside the temple. The temple's followers are known for their intense devotion, and the group has often been compared to charismatic cults

Thousands of police and soldiers surrounded the site on Sunday. The military had sealed off roads leading to and from the temple and put the entire area under their control.

Officers so far have failed to locate the abbot while searching the 4 sq km (1.5 sq mile) compound, which is nearly 10 times the size of the Vatican

One of Thailand's largest and wealthiest temples, the Dhammakaya temple is known for its giant golden dome resembling a flying saucer.