A group of fake monks shaved their heads and donned robes to extort people of cash in Thailand.
The men ran their evil scheme in the province of Rayong, on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, in the south of the country.
They were busted after people raised the alarm when the gang would demand cash only donations and chomp rice and chicken after noon, when real monks fast after that time.
The seven men were arrested by the Royal Thai Police force and taken to a nearby temple and searched for valid monk credentials by an actual man of the cloth, Noppadon Natataro.
He found that one man had the certification, but he said he bought it from a real monk for about £116.
Their bags also contained two knives, fake amulets and cash collected from people they managed to dupe.
In late 2019, a group of individuals who appeared to be dressed as Buddhist monks, but who had allegedly been demanding large sums of money from people outside Waverley Station and the Balmoral Hotel on Princes Street, appeared in Edinburgh.
The group approached passers-by and either handed them a card, or put a bracelet on their wrist. The bracelets had a swastika design. In Buddhism, the swastika is considered to symbolize the auspicious footprints of the Buddha.
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In Summer 2016 Buddhist groups issued warnings after “fake” monks were spotted hassling London tourists for cash “donations” in exchange for “peace”.
Like the Edinburgh group, they were demanding money in exchange for tokens and reportedly became aggressive if people refused or did not pay enough.
Also in summer 2016, men sporting shaved heads and robes who impersonated Buddhist monks and aggressively panhandled for donations proliferated New York City.
Reports of the men surfaced in San Francisco, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India and Nepal, officials said at the time.
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