BLOG – Fake Monks Targeting Westerners on the Rise 8


For the past decade, increasing numbers of fraudulent monks have been giving hit-and-run blessings to passers-by before bowing, presenting small plastic Buddha statues and demanding cash. Previously, they would seek monetary ‘alms’ by going door-to-door around housing estates, but most local Chinese are now switched-on to the scam…

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via TrekEarth.com

Sure, being on the receiving end of an unwelcome sanctification is a refreshing change to risking an unsolicited stabbing (which would probably be the more likely outcome in other ‘world cities’). However, as they refocus on uninformed tourists and expats, these fraudulent holy men are making a mint from westerner’s mystified preconceptions of Buddhism and the east.

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Utomo Francis from the Buddhist Association spoke to HongWrong.com and insisted that the fake monks are simply mainland criminals who come to HK, shave their heads and dress the part. The faux-monks are unrelated to triads and work in pairs, with one keeping a lookout for police. Recently, bar owners have been swamped with up to a dozen of them hassling customers throughout the night…

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via fb.com/FakeMonksInHongKong

All monks and nuns within China, let alone our city, are looked after well by their own monasteries, and begging certainly forms no part of their spiritual journey.

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via lifeonalimb.blogspot.hk

Mr Francis has been working with the police, security bureau, mainland Buddhist groups and the media to raise awareness of the issue but, legally, the impostors can only be charged with loitering.

via http://ndrandom.wordpress.com

He recommends that Hong Kongers simply ignore them or report the matter to the police – several have already been arrested in Tsim Sha Tsui.

It is also a widespread problem over the border.

via SCMP.com

In February, police called on the Immigration Department to crack down on ‘professional beggars’ entering on tourist visas. There has been a major increase in shady characters soliciting over the past year, but the Immigration Department has passed the buck back to the police. They say that the police have a duty to control instances of begging and that it is a grey area as to whether ‘tourists’ are legally ‘working’ when they beg…

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via fb.com/FakeMonksInHongKong

‘Donating’ may simply embolden those involved in this dodgy practice and make matters worse. Instead, the Buddhist Association welcomes direct donations if people wish to support their kindergartens, schools, elderly care homes, medical care facilities and youth service units.

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via fb.com/FakeMonksInHongKong

To raise awareness of the monks roaming Wyndham St, Lan Kwai Fong & Wanchai, a Facebook group has cropped up with stories and photographs shaming suspects…

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It explains that the practice of begging for cash is acceptable neither in Theravada nor Mahayana Buddhism.

Fake Monk shaming page on Facebook


  • TopGinge

    Maybe they should be sent to Burma to join their legit brethren as they kick seven shades out of the muslim minorities.

  • TopGinge

    Maybe they should be sent to Burma to join their legit brethren as they kick seven shades out of the muslim minorities.

  • Back in the days when Hare Krishna beggars were infesting US airports, frequent travellers would carry little ‘clickers’ in their pockets, surround the ‘holy people’ and mass-click them right out of the area. I believe if HK people carried loud police whistles, it may have a similar (salubrious) effect….

  • Richard F Jones

    Back in the days when Hare Krishna beggars were infesting US airports, frequent travellers would carry little ‘clickers’ in their pockets, surround the ‘holy people’ and mass-click them right out of the area. I believe if HK people carried loud police whistles, it may have a similar (salubrious) effect….

  • Johannes Pong

    I wrote about this heinous social phenomenon way back in 2011.
    http://johannespong.com/dont-feed-the-monks/

  • Johannes Pong

    I wrote about this heinous social phenomenon way back in 2011.
    http://johannespong.com/dont-feed-the-monks/

  • Johannes Pong

    I wrote about this heinous social phenomenon way back in 2011.
    http://johannespong.com/dont-feed-the-monks/

  • Steve Bruce

    I started the fake monks in hong kong page after one these guys tried to start a fight with me outside Mes Amis in Wanchai when I filmed him begging. The page has been written about in the New York times, Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Mail & SCMP. Please LIKE the page. My goal is to make this practice unprofitable by raising awareness about it, so these guys will stop doing it.