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Date: 1/14/99

Publication: The Nation

Section: Politics

No US travel records found

THE Foreign Ministry has not found any records of Wat Dhammakaya abbot Phra Dhammachayo travelling in or out of the United States or applying for an immigration card in the past four years.

An informed source quoted the US Immigration and Nationalisation Service (INS) yesterday as saying that there were no records of the monk travelling in or out of the US in the past four years.

According to regulations, persons are only eligible for an immigrant status if they have spent some time in the US and are allowed to obtain citizenship if they have spent five years in the country.

However INS has asked for more information in case the monk had used a passport with another name to enter the US.

According to the source, the ministry will ask the Religious Department and the Sangha Supreme Council if the monk had ever sought their approval for a passport or a trip abroad.

Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan said yesterday that the ministry was still trying to check the information.

The source said the Thai Embassy in Washington had asked its consuls in Los Angeles and Chicago to check with the Dhammakaya International Society, in California, if the abbot had ever visited the place.

The Nation

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