Soliciting of cash by 'monk' has hallmarks of scam - police

The man sought donations in Auckland and Wellington. Photo / Dean Purcell
The man sought donations in Auckland and Wellington. Photo / Dean Purcell

A man dressed as a Buddhist monk who was warned in Wellington for soliciting donations had earlier been spotted doing the same in Auckland.

Suspicions were raised about the man's behaviour by members of the public and the Herald located the man on Quay St in central Auckland on March 10.

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Dressed in orange robes, speaking with extremely limited English, he was attempting to solicit donations.

A notebook he carried featured a picture of an unnamed temple, which he pointed to as he asked for a "donation".

The notebook was a donation ledger, featuring donors' names and money given. There were numerous donations for $20 and $30, the Herald witnessed.

The man would approach people on the street, bow and ask for a donation.

He would then give donors a small shiny gold card, named as a "kai guang amulet".

When spoken to by the Herald, the man appeared to speak very little English beyond the words "donation" and "peace".

Auckland fraud police were not aware of the man at the time the Herald made inquiries about him. But he has subsequently been warned by police in Wellington for his behaviour, which had "all the hallmarks" of a scam, a police spokesman said.

The supposed monk, a 47-year-old Chinese national, had arrived in New Zealand recently, the spokesman told a Sunday newspaper.

New Zealand Buddhist Council chairwoman Amala Wrightson said the man's behaviour wasn't "usual" for a monk. The man was not associated with any temple she was aware of.

- NZ Herald

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