NEWS

Fake monks focus of police crackdown near Union Station

06/12/2015 07:15 EDT | Updated 06/12/2016 05:59 EDT
They offer golden tickets that are said to bring peace, but the fake monks approaching you in downtown Toronto are only after your money.

Toronto Police announced Friday they plan to crack down on the fake monks after multiple complaints about the supposedly spiritual monks getting aggressive when people refuse to give them money after accepting a small token on Front Street near Union Station.

"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.

Fake monk scams have hit Toronto before. Previously, unsuspecting Chinatown shoppers were targeted around two years ago. Other cities have also dealt with fraudulent monks.

While the fraudulent 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.

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