Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Monk's plea: Find attackers

Master An, who was badly hurt by trio, has resumed duties at monastery.

Police look for clues at the Quan Am Buddhist Monastery where Master Thich Phuoc An was attacked last month. Photo / APN
Police look for clues at the Quan Am Buddhist Monastery where Master Thich Phuoc An was attacked last month. Photo / APN

A Buddhist monk who was bashed unconscious last month has resumed normal duties at his monastery - but says the community isn't safe until his attackers are found.

Senior Venerable Thich Phuoc An, known as Master An, was beaten and left in handcuffs during a robbery three weeks ago at the Quan Am Buddhist Monastery south of Auckland, an assault police described as "particularly nasty".

Three weeks after the attack, police do not have any known suspects and are seeking information that could help solve the case.

A $40,000 cabinet was damaged during the attack and nearly 30 locks had to be changed because all the keys to the monastery, which was founded and developed by Master An over 15 years, were stolen.

"Police [are] still looking for the robbers and [the] community [is] not safe until they are arrested," said the 58-year-old monk.

"They hit me and hurt me even when I told them I have no more money ...

they [are] very dangerous."

He gave his three attackers all the cash he had, which was coins from the donation box, but they continued to beat him.

The monk suffered a number of fractures and a serious head wound and had to be taken to Middlemore Hospital for treatment after the August 16 attack.

Master An, who is still nursing a broken arm, said his attackers "took everything from the temple", including his mobile phone.

"I have [been] in and out of New Zealand since 1987, never believe something like this can happen here," he said. "Especially not at temple, because it is my home and also place of peace."

Nancy Pham, a temple volunteer, said the temple members were "in total shock" about the attack.

"We were all really upset and shocked, and angry that people could do this to hurt Master An," she said.

The Herald understands the temple land was donated by a local Vietnamese businessman, and more than $1.3 million has been spent on developments.

Police spokeswoman Kimberley Mathews said police did not believe other monks or Buddhist temples would be targeted.

They believe burglary was the motive.

Contact

People with information can either call the Counties Manukau CIB on 09-2611300 or email thomas.gollan@police.govt.nz. Those who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111

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