Fake monks focus of police crackdown near Union Station
Real monks never ask for donations outside of temple, Buddhist nun says
They offer golden tickets that are said to bring peace, but the monks approaching you in downtown Toronto are fake, and only after your money, according to police.
Toronto police announced Friday they plan to crack down on the supposed monks, seen on Front Street near Union Station, after multiple complaints they become aggressive when people refuse to give them money after accepting a small token.
"We currently have a few fraud monks who have been charged under the Safe Streets Act for panhandling in an aggressive manner," said Toronto police spokeswoman Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu.
Similar scams have hit Toronto before. Unsuspecting Chinatown shoppers were targeted around two years ago. Other cities have also dealt with fraudulent monks.
While the monks may look authentic, there is one easy way to tell if the monks are real or fake: real monks will never ask you for money in public.
"We never do this," said Venerable Miao Mu as she watched footage of the fake monks in action.
"I think this is a kind of cheating," the Buddhist nun said.
Real monks, she added, only accept donations inside the temple.
Meanwhile, police are asking anyone who has a violent encounter with the fake monks to report it.