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Fake Buddhist monks duping people of cash in downtown Vancouver

Vancity Buzz, November 22, 2014

Vancouver, Canada -- Con artists disguised as Buddhist monks are scamming people out of their money at some of downtown Vancouver’s high-traffic pedestrian areas.

There has been a rise in sightings and reported incidents of the bogus monks in action, according to The Province. The bold scammers, dressed in traditional robes, reportedly forced people to take a small bead bracelet as a gift before opening a notebook that contained a list of people who had “donated” funds.

The monks were seemingly unable to speak in English and would depend on making gestures with their arms to communicate with their victims. The only word they apparently knew was “money.”

There have been sightings of the monks at Waterfront Station, Burrard Station, Granville Station, and Granville Island.

However, the fake monk scam is not isolated to Vancouver. Over the past two years, similar fake monk scams have been reported in Toronto, New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Auckland. In Toronto, some of the bogus monks even started cursing at their victims and victims’ family members when they were denied of money.

Vancouver Police and TransLink’s Transit Police have not initiated an investigation at this time, but they have advised the public to exercise extra caution when giving money to people in the street.

Outside of Asia, Buddhist societies do not permit their monks and members to beg for money in public.


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