Buddhist groups seek help from vigilantes to disrobe ring members
By R.S.N. MURALI, The Star, June 30, 2011
MALACCA, Malaysia — Several Buddhist
groups in Kuala Lumpur and Penang have sought the help of the “monk police” here to help eradicate bogus monks in their areas.
<< Don’t be conned: Sangha Sanctity Protection Centre chairman Seek Kai Lun (centre), Seek Lee Terk (right)
and Seck Kwan Si (left) showing posters that will be displayed in Malacca to
warn the public against bogus monks.
The Sangha Sanctity Protection Centre, which set up the “monk police”, is now preparing to send over a team of five volunteers to carry out surveillance in both these states.
“We have been receiving calls from other Buddhist organisations in the country to aid them in thwarting the activities of such monks.
“A plan of action is being prepared to disrobe these bogus monks preying on innocent devotees,” centre vice-chairman Ronald Gan Yong Hoe told The Star yesterday.
Gan said the team had been trained to identify and disrobe these bogus monks who would then
be deported back to their native countries.
“We are ready to provide our expertise,” he said, adding that the team would also be reinforced with another unit should the need arise or if there was a setback.
The centre had set up its own 10-man vigilante group on the belief that an organised syndicate was behind the culprits who walked around in saffron robes in the city here and took advantage of the public’s generosity.
These “monks” would hand out amulets which they claimed have spiritual powers to bestow prosperity and health on those making donations.
A preliminary investigation conducted by the centre found that the bogus monks travelled to Malaysia from China and operated for a month before heading back to their homeland.
One bogus monk nabbed by the centre confessed that his group could earn up to RM9,000 from a month’s stay here.
Gan said the centre was also anticipating more calls from Buddhist groups in other states.
“We are in the midst of recruiting more members to join our vigilante group in an all-out war to stop these monks,” he said.
The centre also distributed pamphlets to create awareness among the public to be wary of these monks.
Buddhist vigilantes to ‘disrobe’ bogus monks who fleece the public
By R.S.N. MURALI, The Star, June 21, 2011
MALACCA, Malaysia — A Buddhist group here has set up its own vigilante corp to stop those portraying themselves as monks from soliciting money from the public.
<<Ticking off: Gan (left) reprimanding a bogus monk and
‘disrobing’ him for soliciting funds at a busy street in Malacca.
The Sangha Sanctity Protection Centre (SSPC) said its “monk police” believed an organised syndicate was behind the culprits who walked in saffron robes through the populated streets of Malacca and preyed on the generosity of the public.
These foreigners hand out amulets which they claim have spiritual powers to bestow prosperity and health to those who make donations.
SSPC vice-chairman Ronald Gan Ying Hoe said its 10-man vigilante group would go out to stop the syndicate, which is known to have fleeced hundreds of people of their money and personal belongings.
“They use scare tactics to solicit donations, especially at hospitals where they target family members of warded patients,” he told The Star.
“Genuine monks do not wear watches or shoes.
“Indeed, they have no earthly asset of any sort,” said Gan, adding that the centre’s monk police would be spreading public awareness about the scam and also paste posters around the city to warn prospective victims.
“Monks are strictly forbidden to roam the streets, cheating people of their money or solicit donations and are not supposed to sell items like talismans,” he said.
“We are going to disrobe’ these rogues by going to areas that have become popular haunts of these con artists,” he said.
He added that a probe by the centre found that the rogue monks travelled to Malaysia from China and operated for a month before heading back to their homeland.
“One bogus monk we nabbed recently confessed his group could earn up to RM9,000 from a month’s stay here,” he said.
Gan said in recent months, the centre’s monk police had caught four rogue monks who solicited donations at busy streets and private hospitals in the city.
“In one case, a bogus monk in his late 40s was forced to return to his native country with the help of the authorities,” said Gan.
He added that these conmen could damage the sanctity of the Buddhist faith if drastic steps were not taken to stop them from cheating people.
Gan said he would work closely with the relevant enforcement agencies to stop these bogus monks.