Malaysia: Home Affairs Ministry Directs Arrest, Deportation Of Bogus Monks

Bernama, June 18, 2006

PENANG, Malaysia -- The Home Affairs Ministry has directed the police and immigration authorities to detain and deport bogus monks from abroad who seek donations illegally and tarnish the image of Buddhism, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho said Sunday.

He said these monks, who were attired in robes worn by Buddhist monks and sought donations from the people at public places such as night markets and eateries, violated the law by seeking donations without a permit and misused their entry visa for the purpose of their visit.

"The police must detain this group of people and the immigration authorities must deport them to their countries," he told reporters after opening the annual general meeting of the Malaysian Buddhist Sangha Association, here.

Tan said that according to Buddhist teachings, the bowls carried by Buddhist monks were meant to be containers for food and not money, which the bogus monks carried in them.

He also said that a dialogue would be held among the police, immigration authorities and the association to keep away the bogus monks.

He advised the association to distribute leaflets on the activities of these bogus monks to the public so that the people would not be deceived by them.

Tan said there were three cases in Johor Baharu recently where the people caught bogus monks seeking donations and handed them to the police.

He also said that some of these bogus monks offer to tell people's fortune and predict winning lottery numbers, and advertise these services in the local newspapers.

The newspapers should decline them space in their publications because the activities ran contrary to Buddhist teachings and tarnished the image of Buddhist monks, he added.