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Beware, bogus nun tries to raise funds

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She was spotted asking for donations from the public in Johor on Tuesday (July 14).

The middle-aged nun was believed to be an imposter, reported Guang Ming Daily.

A resident saw the bogus nun carrying a note pad in a black sack. Her hair was covered under a beanie.

She reportedly claimed that she was from a cave temple in Perak now raising funds for orphans living at the temple.

A shop owner told her that he had not heard about nuns raising funds in Malaysia.

When he wanted to find out more about the temple before making any donation, she quickly left, he added.

A fake monk approaching tourists at the Singapore River. FILE PHOTO: STOMP

Fake monks going around to beg for money is becoming more prevalent in Malaysia and Singapore as well.

In 2013, after noticing a rising trend of such imposters, the Singapore Buddhist Federation called a press conference in 2013 to address the problem.

The fakes had been seen all over the island — from neighbourhoods such as Bukit Merah and Kreta Ayer to parts of town such as Clarke Quay, Raffles Place and Orchard Road.

The Buddhist leaders emphasised that monks are not allowed to ask for money using alms bowls and urged the public to call the police if they spot a bogus monk or nun.

According to media reports, a man who passed himself off as a Thai monk could get up to $2,000 in just a day selling religious trinkets and begging for money.

Here's how to spot the real from the fake:

 Appearance: Thai monks shave their eyebrows. Nuns do not put on any headwear.

 No sale: Monks and nuns will not sell items such as Buddha images, prayer beads or relics.

 No money: They will never beg for money in public.

 Time limit: Alms bowls are only for collecting food and medicine, and monks can do these only till 11am.

 Local: All monks based in Singapore do not go around with alms bowls asking for food and medicine.

 Foreign: Monks visiting Singapore from countries such as Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka do sometimes go around asking for food and medicine. 

Sources: Star Online, Guang Ming Daily, The New Paper