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Public warned of bogus monks
Faridah Begum & Hwa Mei Shen

PETALING JAYA -- Before you dip into your pocket to donate to a saffron-robed monk who approaches you at restaurants, coffeeshops and night markets, be warned.

They are not monks, they are con men.

MCA Public Service and Complaints Department head Michael Chong has urged Malaysians to be wary of bogus monks.

"If you want to be generous in cash or kind, please go to the temples and donate.

"There have been too many of these 'monks' in the city and, from experience, they are not what they lead you to believe," said Chong.

He was responding to complaints that men dressed as monks had been seen at night markets in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur asking for alms and selling strings which had been "blessed."

In Penang, Malaysian Buddhist Association secretary Lim Tien Phong said the people should be aware that real monks do not approach the public for money.

He described the presence of bogus monks as a "big problem," adding that the association had taken the matter up with Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung and the police.

Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia president Chong Hung Wang said it was not common for monks in Malaysia to ask for alms, unlike in Thailand.

The Malaysian Buddhist Co-ordination Committee was coming up with a poster to educate the public on identifying bogus monks, he said.


Updated: 23-7-2001

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