MBPP councillors warn about bogus monks

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THE Penang Island City Council (MBPP) is working closely with relevant authorities to warn the public about bogus monks appearing at the public markets and hawker centres on Penang island.


Speaking at a press conference at the Batu Lanchang hawker centre today, MBPP councillor Tan Soo Siang said the council has intensified its effort to crack down on bogus monks through collaborations with the Immigration Department, the police, Harmonico, the Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA), and the United Buddhist Organisation (UBA).


“There is the bogus monk syndicate operating around the state, and we hope the public can be vigilant and cautious.


“Monks’ bowls are meant for food instead of cash money,” said Tan, who is also the MBPP Public Health and Licensing chairman.


Tan identified several hotspots frequently visited by bogus monks, including Cecil Street Market, Jelutong Market, Batu Lanchang Market, Bayan Baru Market, Ayer Itam Market, Padang Tembak Hawker Centre, Medan Angsana Complex, Chowrasta, Pulau Tikus Market, Pitt Street Complex, Stewart Lane Complex, and Lorong Baru Temporary Hawker Centre.


“We will carry out integrated operations with the relevant agencies to crack down on bogus monks,” she added.


Fellow councillor Ray Choong encouraged the public to report bogus monks to them if they come across them.


“We will take necessary action by cooperating with the Thai Consulate Penang, as bogus monks are mainly from our neighbouring country.

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Tan (standing front) posing for a photograph with those present during the press conference.

“According to the Consulate, they are not allowed to work or beg for money when they come to our country. Hence, they are liable for their offences,” he said, adding that the council does not have any legal authority to act against the syndicate.


Northeast District Crime Prevention Division chief DSP Salim Emin said the police would assist the council in stepping up its efforts against fake monks.


Harmonico general manager Paul Au urged the public to be extra vigilant when encountering fake monks, reminding that real monks do not receive money, but food.


Story by Edmund Lee
Pix by Nurul Hawa Farahin Hameddy