Fake Buddhist Monks Are Scamming The People Of Sydney

Fake Buddhist monks are scamming the people of Sydney, NSW Fair Trading has warned. 
A report published this week in the Sydney Morning Herald detailed a recent spate of confidence scams believed to have involved up to six men and women dressed in traditional Buddhist monk robes and panhandling for donations in Sydney, specifically high traffic tourist hubs like Darling Harbour and Circular Quay and other suburbs including Darlinghurst, Bondi Junction, Bondi Beach, Martin Place, Lane Cove and Chatswood. 

“These people are taking advantage of the public’s generosity and have no affiliations with the Buddhist community,” acting NSW Fair Trade Commissioner John Tansey said. “There is no law against begging in NSW but this is nevertheless clearly a scam.”   

Upon refusal of donation, those approached by the scammers have reportedly been presented with a wireless credit card machine and been directed to withdraw money from an automatic teller machine. 

President of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils, Kim Hollow, said monks are taught never to solicit strangers for money, saying “In no way do we condone ordained people, a monk or nun, wandering the streets collecting money.”

Meaning that the likelihood that an actual Buddhist monk would carry a wireless credit card machine under their robes at all times is lower than their hemlines and as perplexing, ridiculous and suspicious as you think it is.
Five words, monk scammers: instant karma’s gonna get you.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The image that was initially published to accompany this story was a still from the movie Samsara and featured Tibetan (Mahayana) monks creating a sacred sand mandala, who are in no way associated with or related to the scam. Pedestrian apologises if the image was in any way misleading or offensive to members of the Tibetan Buddhism in Australia, and the wider Tibetan community. The Tibetan Buddhist Gyuto Monks are currently touring in Sydney and have a very solid reputation in Australia.