Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Fake (?) monks besiege Red China cop house
Police from Baotou city say incident began when what appeared to be group of monks attacked toll booth before escaping by bus
Police in northern China faced an unexpected and unholy menace last week when more than 100 fake monks besieged their police station, a Chinese newspaper reported today.
Police from Baotou city, in inner Mongolia, told the North News that the incident began last Wednesday when what appeared to be a group of monks attacked a toll booth and escaped by bus.
Officers stopped the vehicle at a roadblock after a lengthy car chase and arrested 31 of the men – but the suspects fought back with steel bars and knives, allowing the rest to make their getaway on a double-decker bus.
The following day, more than 100 men, apparently monks, besieged the city's Guyang police station to demand the release of those arrested.
The central public security bureau had to dispatch 500 officers, including 200 members of the armed police, to protect the building.
They arrested 178 fake monks, confiscating the sticks, knives, fake medicines and fake gold necklaces they were carrying.
Police said the group was an organised gang made up mostly of farmers from Hunan, who paid the leaders 20 yuan (£2) a day for the privilege of membership.
The men pretended to be monks so they could make money performing martial arts, claim to be able to cure people of illnesses and sell medications. Some also extorted money.
The public security bureaus in Guyang county and Baotou declined to comment on the case when contacted by the Guardian.
Earlier this year, media in eastern Shandong province reported that police had caught eight fake monks from a gang of 58 who were peddling a herbal paste they claimed could cure all known diseases.
In other cases, impostors have claimed to be from the famous Shaolin temple, only to be exposed by the poor quality of their martial arts performances.
Genuine monks have repeatedly complained about people masquerading as lamas, often in or near the grounds of temples.