Fake Buddhist monks have been seen cheating tourists out of their cash all around the globe.
The monks appear to be from Chinese origin and have been seen running sting operations on mostly western tourists in major cities around the world.
The bogus monks dress up in Nike sneakers and use aggressive behaviour towards tourists and locals to part them benevolently from their materialistic cash. They are mostly men with bold shaven heads wearing orange robes, pretending to be practising Zen Buddhists in search of the meaning of life.
However it’s been noticed that they are very determined to take your dollars, should you come across one in New York. They are also noted to have a liking for liquor and tobacco after a hard days begging. These clues together with their Nike trainers should give their game away.
They are more likely to be normal hustlers from The Orient, after food and experience before the sun sets, and not ones for Zen contemplation.
After Melbourne, San Francisco, Toronto and Tokyo, New York has become the latest city to see a rise in what The New York Post describes as “holy terrors”, a band of Chinese nationals who hit the streets in their Nike sneakers and use the power of the pious robe to beg tourists for money.
While beggar bowls may figure in Buddhism for food, monks depend on the goodwill of donors with quiet submission and refrain from begging for money, unlike the con artists who are described as aggressive, and have been seen to engage in distinctly un-Buddhist behaviour – namely drinking and smoking.
According to the paper, after working sites like Bryant Park and the High Line, the scammers return to Flushing in Queens, New York with the day’s earnings, change out of their robes if they haven’t already on the subway or in park restrooms, and tip back a boozy dinner with their co-faux monks.
Bogus monks have been cropping up around the world in recent months, playing out different variations of the scam.
In Toronto, faux monks threaten to place a curse on those who refused to give them money.
In Tokyo, San Francisco and Melbourne, the con artists approach their victims asking them to sign a petition for peace before offering up a bracelet and then pushing for donations.
Not only does the scheme cheat tourists and locals of their money, but it also tarnishes the reputation of authentic, practising monks and Buddhism.
So how do you tell real monks from fakes? Real monks will never beg for money.
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