Sunday 10 March 2013

Bogus Buddhists, Plagiarizing Priests and Criminal Catholics

Monks Making Money from Monkeys in Lan Kwai Fong

We've seen Bogus Buddhists and Plagiarizing Priests being outed. Now let's see if that Criminal ex-head of the Catholic Church will be charged. Pope Benedict XVI says he will stay in the shadows within the Vatican, which means this is his way of avoiding any legal proceedings aimed at him.


Priests' plagiarism sees exodus from Anglican church (SCMP; paywall)

Some 17 families have left the Anglican diocese after St John's Cathedral confirms claim that priests are still using online sermons dishonestly
Sunday, 24 February, 2013, 12:00am

Lana Lam

St John's Cathedral appears to be fighting a losing battle against plagiarising priests - a practise that has already led 17 families of believers to leave the Anglican church.

A former parishioner at the Emmanuel Church in Pok Fu Lam, a St John's affiliate, said four priests were guilty of using sermons from the internet and preaching them as if they were their own.

He said they had been doing so for 18 months.

The Very Reverend Matthias Der, the new dean of the cathedral, confirmed that some priests had persisted with their plagiarism despite his warnings against the practice at his first meeting with them in September.

"There is still bad practice in some of the priests," Der said on Friday, without confirming the number of clergy involved.

"I told my clergy that any kind of use of outside sources needs to be attributed," Der said of the September meeting.

"I understand that when we do research, we will look at other people's writing, but if we are using direct quotes then we need to attribute them. Plagiarism is not acceptable."

Several priests are still failing to cite their sources. Der said: "When I learned of this a few weeks ago, I [again] made it clear to my colleagues that it was not acceptable."

The former parishioner, who had attended Emmanuel Church for almost a decade, said he left recently because of the dishonesty of the priests and the inaction of the church.

"It is very disappointing to see the extent of plagiarised sermons published on the websites of St John's Cathedral and Emmanuel Church, even though this was brought to the cathedral's attention 18 months ago," he said.

The church keeps an online audio archive of its sermons. It shows a number of priests have included direct quotes from sermons or church newsletters found online with no attribution of the original source.

The Sunday Morning Post contacted some of the priests accused of plagiarism, but they refused to comment.

Two of them told the Post to speak to the dean, while another denied the allegation.

Der said the priests accused of plagiarism "all have different reasons" for their actions.

He said he was surprised when he realised what was happening.

"I had heard of [plagiarism by priests] before, but I had never met anyone who had done it," he said.

Der said plagiarism called into question a person's honesty.

"If we borrow, we need to attribute and that is the part they didn't do," he said. "It's an unfortunate issue and it's not something I condone or support."

Der said he always advised his clergy to prepare original sermons.

"While we research and look at other sources, the sermons we deliver are meant to be from our own preparations," he said.

Referring to the departure of the 17 families because of the ongoing plagiarism by priests of the church, he said: "Losing a single parishioner pains me, but unfortunately that has happened.

"Under my watch, this is an issue I take seriously and I'm doing my best to amend it.

"I trust my colleagues will comply or there will be more serious consequences."

Call for visa crackdown on bogus Buddhist monks (SCMP; paywall)

Police want immigration to crack down on bogus Buddhist monks working as beggars in the same way that they deal with prostitutes
Sunday, 24 February, 2013, 12:00am

John Carney and Jennifer Cheng

Mainland beggars masquerading as Buddhist monks should be treated the same as prostitutes, and the immigration authorities should crack down on the practice, according to police.

One police source familiar with a rising trend of bogus Buddhist monks visiting Hong Kong as "professional beggars" said they may be violating their three-month visitor visas.

Over the past 12 months, the city had seen a major increase in the number of people clad in monks' robes and begging in Central, Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui, the source said. The police arrest people for begging, particularly in Central. But unlike prostitutes, whose work is illegal because they enter Hong Kong on tourist visas, according to the Immigration Department begging does not constitute working.

Stronger penalties would deter bogus monks from coming to the city, the source said, adding that the police wanted a change in immigration laws.

"If these bogus Buddhist monks come here specifically to beg on a three-month tourist visa, why isn't this a breach of their conditions of stay?

"If you come to Hong Kong as a mainland prostitute on a tourist visa, you will be arrested by police for breaching your conditions of stay. Why are these bogus monks not treated the same?"

On Friday night, one man dressed like a Buddhist monk in Lan Kwai Fong tried to sell a wooden beaded bracelet to the Sunday Morning Post. The bracelets - which he said could bring blessings - cost HK$100 each.

The sale of these bracelets constitutes working and is a clear breach of tourist visa laws.

But an Immigration Department spokesman said it was difficult to define whether begging should be classed as work. He noted, however, that it was the police's duty to tackle begging.

"In the case of mainland prostitutes, they breach the conditions of their stay by establishing a business here. It is a clear immigration issue," the spokesman said.

"But it is also clear in the police ordinance that they prosecute beggars. The police are the appropriate authority to enforce the law here. There is no loophole in the immigration law."

Entrepreneur Rory Hussey, whose bar Solas is on Wyndham Street, Central, called the bogus monks a "plague".

Hussey recalled how he went on holiday last year to Thailand and a group of bogus monks were on the same flight, dressed in civilian clothes. "I see them every night, so I recognised them on the plane straight away. A few of them even had girlfriends with them," he said.

In Tsim Sha Tsui, Mike Brown, bar manager of Ned Kelly's Last Stand in Ashley Road, said the impostors "would try to get away with anything".

"They'd blatantly walk in here and ask my customers for money," Brown said. "They're regularly annoying tourists all along Nathan Road."

At Delaney's in Luard Road, Wan Chai, general manager Clare Kirkman told how up to 12 monks could be patrolling up and down the streets.

"They work in pairs; while one begs, the other keeps a lookout for police," she said. "They're a nuisance but they are very well-organised."

Last weekend, authorities in the northern province of Shaanxi closed down two temples on a sacred Buddhist mountain and arrested six people after tourists complained of bogus monks deceiving them into donating money.

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