A flamboyant fugitive monk accused of raping a 14-year-old girl has been extradited back to Thailand after fleeing to the US.
Photographs show Wirapol Sukphol, 37, smiling widely clad in orange robes as he is escorted under police guard in Bangkok.
Wirapol was catapulted to infamy after footage of him aboard a private jet flaunting wads of cash and Louis Vuitton luggage.
After the video surfaced in 2013, Wirapol was expelled from monkhood amid accusations including child molestation and fraud.
The disgraced cleric faces fraud, money laundering and other charges including allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl, which carries a jail term of up to 20 years.
At the height of his wealth, Wirapol had amassed estimated 1 billion baht ($AUD38 million) in assets including 22 Mercedes cars worth 95 million baht ($AUD3.5 million), according to police.
Probes seized millions of dollars in lavish assets at odds with Buddhist teachings and a monk’s vow to shun material goods.
Born in the poverty-stricken province of Ubon Ratchathani, Wirapol was welcomed into the monkhood as a teenager.
He soon gained wealthy followers for claims of supernatural powers and being the reincarnation of a miracle-performing monk who lived several decades ago.
Wirapol, who fathered a child with the girl he raped, was arrested in California last year and this week returned to home-soil.
The monk, who has denied the charges, was taken to Bangkok Remand Prison after the hearing.
His arrest is the latest in a raft of scandals to rock Thailand’s Buddhist clergy, including monks caught dealing drugs brainwashing followers for sex.
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