Fake monk fundraising scam targets foreign tourists in Tokyo
Tourists beware! The media is now reporting about a really terrible scam that is going on in Tokyo’s major tourist areas. It seems that there is a group of fake Buddhist monks who trick foreign tourists into donating money to their “temple.” Here is a TV report that aired yesterday:
The “monks” approach tourists, hand them a golden good luck charm, and ask for a donation. Many tourists are happy to donate to such a noble cause. The fundraisers seem to target foreign tourists, but they also occasionally approach Japanese people. In a short time, the men can raise many thousands of yen.
But are they really monks? One told a Japanese reporter that he was raising money for a temple in Bhutan. Another claimed to be raising money for a temple in Taiwan. Yet the two men seemed to be working together.
A call to a Bhutanese association in Japan revealed that their clothing is totally different from what Buddhist monks wear back in Bhutan. And the Taiwanese temple that was written on one man’s fundraising appeal stated that they had not sent any monks to Japan to raise money. The “monks” were lying.
The camera crew observed the “monks” taking breaks from fundraising. These breaks included trips to clothing stores and luxury watch shops. How could a monk afford a designer wristwatch?
After one failed attempt to follow a “monk” home, the news crew located their apartment. The “monks” were living in a residence full of Chinese people. They spot a man who they had seen fundraising in Akihabara the day before. Instead of monk robes, he was wearing normal clothing. Although he initially denied that he could understand Chinese, he eventually began to answer their questions in Chinese. He claimed to be a cook, and feigned ignorance of the fundraising scam. (Although his face is blurred for legal reasons, he is the exact same person that they filmed in Akihabara.)
At the end of the report, it is noted that the scammers seem to have been scared out of the Akihabara area. But they are are still scamming people. They have moved to other tourist areas, such as Harajuku, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Asakusa, Shinagawa, and Roppongi.
Hopefully, this news report will get the cops to crack down on these scumbags.