Saturday, January 21, 2012

Officials warn of ‘fake monks’ targeting Phuket tourists

The 'monk police’ of Phuket are warning everyone on the island of con men who are impersonating Buddhist monks and tricking locals and tourists into giving them money.

Chatpawit Jinapong, Director of the Phuket branch of the National Office of Buddhism, which operates directly under the Prime Minister's Office, spoke with the Phuket Gazette about these fraudulent “monks”.

“High season in Phuket attracts a lot of these con men who dress like Buddhist monks to get money, which really isn’t appropriate. We found that most are from Cambodia, here in Phuket on tourist visas, though there are Thai fake-monks too,” he said.

On casual observation the phony monks appear to be collecting alms as part of a merit making ceremony. However, their true objective is to collect money rather than other offerings such as food.

“Thai monks follow a very strict monastic code and they do not collect alms after 8am, whereas these fake monks are collecting alms all day long,” said Mr Chatpawit.

“However, we have caught more than 10 and Phuket Immigration have deported them,” he said...

Continue reading from Buddhist Channel.

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