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Buddhist monks fined for illegal gambling

Two high-ranking monks of South Korea‘s largest Buddhist sect, the Jogye Order, have each received

2 million won (US$ 1,775) in fines for illegal gambling, court officials said Friday.

The two were charged with playing poker with hundreds of millions of won in play at a hotel room in southern South Korea in April.

The gambling scandal was considered one of the incidents in a long-running feud between supporters of the Jogye Order’s administration at the time and its opponents, as a video footage showing the gambling scene had been secretly recorded by an opponent and then made public.

“The monks should be held responsible for the incident, as it has caused huge social distress,” Judge Lee Sung-yong of the Seoul Central District Court said in the ruling. “However, the court orders fines, as they showed remorse for their crime.”

In principle, gambling is illegal in South Korea, except for some special areas such as casinos for foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, the court sentenced the monk from the opponent‘s side to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, for filming the gambling scene by installing a CCTV in the hotel room.

Following the scandal, the Jogye Order took drastic reform measures, including reshuffling several high-ranking posts. (Yonhap News)