中文 |

Bogus monks held after claims temple visitors swindled

By : Shanghai Daily | Published: 2012-January-12

Fake monks at an ancient Buddhist temple in southwestern Yunnan Province have been detained for allegedly swindling cash out of visitors.

It is claimed Yanquan Temple in Jinxing Village was being used as a money-making venture by a businessman.

The two suspects are said to have impersonated monks to persuade visitors to buy joss sticks for good luck.

And far from leading an ascetic life, the Yanquan Temple "monks" are married, have spacious homes in provincial capital Kunming and drive luxury cars, an insider told the China News Week.

Another six temple employees were taken for questioning, authorities said.

The village let the 1,000-year-old temple to a Hunan native, surnamed Long, initially for 7.2 million yuan (US$1.14 million) a year, a preliminary investigation revealed.

An investigation, led by authorities in Kunming and Yiliang County, which administers Jinxing, reported that only one Yanquan Temple monk was registered.

Instead, Long employed bogus monks who signed contracts and worked office hours at the temple, it is claimed.

Their income was derived from commission on the sales of expensive joss sticks, the anonymous insider said.

It is said the letting business started in July 2001 after the village government raised 12 million yuan to expand the temple into a 14-hectare tourist area.

In its first year it attracted 200,000 visitors, bringing 2 million yuan in revenue.

Long obtained management rights in 2010 for 7.2 million yuan a year. Last March the fee was reduced to 4.3 million yuan, according to the investigation.

It is said the fake monks persuaded visitors to spend thousands of yuan on joss sticks to remove bad luck.

Visitor Ou Peng told China News Week they warned of misfortune unless he paid 10,800 yuan for a joss stick.

"Afraid of being cursed, I surrendered," Ou explained.

It is claimed the village ignored complaints because the revenue - 3.38 million yuan in 2010 - was welcomed.

A crackdown was launched last Saturday and the temple has been closed.

The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published on this site, with " InKunming" being given as the source, belongs to Kunming Information Hub Media Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
More Headlines From Around the Web
Follow

Copyright © 2008 Kunming All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.E-mail: inkunmingkmxxg@hotmail.com