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Diamond Thief Becomes Monk to ‘Redeem Karma’


A Thai man, who stole $26 million (US$20 million) worth of gems which includes a blue diamond from a Saudi Palace, has embraced Buddhist monkhood on Thursday.  Apparently, the man has become a monk to redeem his karma.

Kriangkrai Techamong worked as a gardener at the palace of Saudi Prince Faisal bin Fahd in 1989. He tiptoed to the palace bedroom one night and stole 200 pounds of jewellery estimated to be worth $26 million. Among the gems, there was a 50-carat blue diamond.

The case became known as the “Blue-Diamond-Affair.” The case is peppered with a twisted tale of the heist, corruption, assassination, and diplomatic acrimony, reported Vice News.

Techamong stuffed the jewellery in a vacuum cleaner bag and sent them to Northern Thailand via DHL. Soon after he also left Saudi. The Prince informed Thai authorities about the theft. Meanwhile,  Santhi Sithanakan a local jeweller bought the jewels from Techamong.

Techamong  was arrested following the incident. Later, police returned most of the jewels except the blue diamond. However, Saudi authorities claimed that most of the jewels were fake.  And the whereabout of the diamond remains a mystery.

To investigate the case, Riyadh sent three diplomats and a businessman to Thailand, but all of them were assassinated. Bangkok authorities stated that there are Hezbollah links in the murders. However, Saudi authorities suspected foul play.  The incident embittered the relationship between the two countries.

In 2014, a case was dropped against police officers involved in the murders due to lack of evidence.

Techamong, at one point, told the local media that the heist brought misfortunes and suffering for his family and the blue diamond is jinxed.

He said, “I am confident that all my misfortunes are the result of a curse from the (blue) Saudi diamond I stole, so I’ve decided to enter the monkhood for the rest of my life to redeem my bad karma.”

According to South China Morning Post, the local media has reported that Techamong has been given a new monk name, which translates to “He Who Has Diamond Knowledge.”

In a related monk and materialism story, there was a recent controversy reported that a monk possessed a vintage Mercedes-Benz worth more than US$250,000 (AU$345,000).

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