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Monk Collects $8.8M for Thailand

May 4, 1999

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ A Buddhist monk donated gold and cash worth nearly $8.8 million to Thailand’s treasury Tuesday to help bail the government out of the Asian economic crisis.

Phra Maha Bua Yanasampanno has campaigned over the past two years to get Thais to part with gold and currency to help their nation.

On Tuesday, the 87-year-old monk turned over 1,043 pounds of donated gold worth $5.8 million, plus $3 million in cash, bringing the total donations in his campaign to more than $13 million.

He began the ``Thai Help Thai″ campaign in 1997, and has collected donations from Thais abroad as well as his devotees in the country.

The latest windfall will help the government, but won’t plug the gaping hole in the country’s finances, in ruins since economic strife swept through Asia in 1997.

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