Mafia of Fake Monks Prey on Thailand Tourist

Mafia of Fake Monks Prey on Thailand Tourist
“One of the most deplorable scams aimed at tourists are the fake monks. They walk around tourist areas soliciting donations. How can Thai people tolerate this?”

A Mafia of Fake Monks from China has entered Thailand in September of 2008. Local Thailand vendors are reporting a big jump in the number of Fake Monks. Although encountering Fake Monks has always been a small problem, as Thailand people sometime dons a robe to earn easy money by requesting alms from naive Tourist, however now it has become organized.

If Thailand Tourism has not suffered enough in the last couple years with a Military Coup, Protesters being killed, Border Disputes with Cambodia, Bird Flu and skyrocketing price of Jet Fuel doubling the price of Plane tickets from Europe and the USA. Now we can add the to the list a,
“Mafia of Fake Monks”

Khao San Road, Bangkok Thailand
Monday, November 17, 2008
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I first became aware of this growing problem when walking into one of my favorite breakfast restaurant the Merry V Guesthouse behind the Buddhist Wat Chai Chana Songkhram. As I was eating my cheese omelet for 50 Baht I looked up from my table and see this sign.

I look around and see another sign, then another, there are three of them posted inside the Guesthouse Restaurant. Then a short time later a Monk tries to enter and the fantastic breakfast waitress shoos him away. I did not put two and two together for a few days, however soon various Monks started asking me for money on my daily walk around the Khao San Road area.

This has never been a problem for me, I just say,
“I am Christian, go ask a Buddhist,”
my philosophical view has kept me save, it never crossed my mind they were fake, until now…

It is the custom of Thailand Monks to walk around near the Monastery collecting Alms in the morning from sunrise to maybe 7:30 in the morning, after this time you rarely see the Monks asking for Alms, the generally stay in the temple.

Being a curious person, I started to study the differences between these new Monks and the normal Thailand Monks. I soon discovered that normal Buddhist Monks from Thailand do not collect money, except with specific license or permissions, and I not from foreigners as a general rule.

These Fake Monks from China walk around during at all times of the day and walk directly up to tourist and push there bowl out to nearby Foreigners, in many way extorting money by guilt, while totally ignoring the Thailand people.

Here is a video showing some real Thailand Buddhist Monks collecting foods on Thanon Kraisi near Khao San Road between sunrise and 7:30 am in Bangkok, Thailand. Please take note of the following about the real Thailand Buddhist Monks of the Khao San Road area Thailand.

1. They collect food only from Thailand people.
2. They did not approach the Thai people, they people came to them.
3. The Monk were not wearing shoes in this process.
4. The Thailand people would often kneel, and take off their shoes before making their offering.
5. No money is given to the monks.
6. The Thailand Buddhist Monks robes do not have sleeves to cover their arms.



Photo taken on Thanon Kraisi near Khao San Road.

Photo taken on Thanon Kraisi near Khao San Road and featured in a prior Blog posted titled “Morning Alms for Thailand Buddhist Monks


One of the local vendors who is married to a Thailand women assisted me in taking this photo, as the Fake Monks only request money from the Foreigners, not from the local Thailand people.

In conclusion, the solution to this problems is easy, Tourist entering Thailand need told they should not give money to Monks, please tell your friends.

Bangkok Beggars - The Good, The Bad, and The Fake
beware fake monks sign, Bangkok, Thailand
Beware Of Fake Monks - Thailand Forum
Buddha Boys - TIME
Fake Buddhist Monks Uncovered - Thailand Forum
Fake monks ... - Thorn Tree Travel Forum - Lonely Planet
Monk's robe - Paknam Web Thailand Forums
Morning Alms for Thailand Buddhist Monks
Thailand's Rules, Regulations & Laws

I hope to help Tourist and the people of Thailand by educating the world to this problem. Therefore this post is free to use in whole part online or offline providing you credit the site with a live website link when possible.

Andy of Travel Journal

Use this link to download large photos and video clip:

Mafia of Fake Monks Prey on Thailand Tourist


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This is the best info you have published in a long time. MORE OF THIS Andy!

Thank You, I am planning some interesting post for the future. For a post like this I have to put on my Reporter Hat, investigate and think, I spent a lot more than my normal 15 minutes of Blog time.

Hi Mr, Andy,
Great tip farmboy! Of course you are well aware of our versions on TV and such. One big glowing difference is, the entire world screams and hollers about those "damn scamming Christians", rather than seeing the scam artists for what they are. As you have here. You are bigger man than most, Charlie Brown.
Take Care.


Add the Fake Monks to a long list of widespread scams aimed at first time tourists visiting Thailand.
The police are backing all these scammers.

Photos of TOURIST MAFIA here:

What the heck is the flap all about?? If you don't want to be "scammed" by "fake" monks, then just don't give them money!! Its as simple as that. They're just like any other beggars and you can decide whether or not to give them money - no one's holding a gun to your head! I don't see how it can be a major threat to tourism and a reason to get all hot around the collar. There are many, many worse things happening in Thailand than a few con artists begging for money. Get a life.

Too funny, yes very simple if you have already read this post.

Boy, if you received a book on grammar from any of these Fake Monks, you really got gypped.

A quick look at the so called fake monks is that they are from a
different tradition. The ones collecting money are dressed in the robes
commonly worn by the monks and nuns from buddha light international, a
mahayana worldwide movement from Taiwan. The monks and nuns of this sect
are mainly chinese and i would suspect that they have a least one and
maybe more monasterys in Thailand. Because they arent under the traditional
theravada sangha (thai)then maybe the laws associated to the sangha wouldnt
apply? And the common people wouldnt know who they are and wouldn;t
understand the different interpretations of the rules that the mahayana tradition
use. They may not be fake just different...

The consensus here on the ground as I have listened to Thailand locals is they should not be here. There is zero money collected from Thailand people, only the Tourist who cannot tell the difference.

I have an un-confirmed report that the Thailand police captured about 20-40 of them living in one room and deported them to China a month ago.

If you study the route of the Monks, they do not ciculate in any area where normal Thailand Monks could be walking and avoid the time schedules when Thailand Buddhist Monks are walking.

Anyway you do it, the Thailand peoople do not consider this something Thailand.

Yeah, I talked for a while with a fake monk in Hong Kong on a ferry a couple of years back. He had on the whole monk get-up, gave me the whole monk jive, asked for a donation, and this and that. When we got off the boat and I saw him around a corner in street clothes. I went up to him and could only laugh. This is an old time tradition in China which has references all through Chinese literature.

This was a real good posts and shows the real value of travel blogging - you can share real information with lots of people fairly quickly.

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