TAIYUAN, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- An inspector team composed of 10 monks have helped expose more than 600 fake monks at Mount Wutai in order to curb impostors and fraud at the holy mountain.
The famous Buddhist sanctuary in north China's Shanxi Province draws millions of believers and tourists every year. It is also known for fake monks who hustle for money by fortune telling, begging for alms and performing street shows.
"We've tried ways to crack down on the scams, and the monk inspector team has proved to be the best way," said the office director with the religion affairs bureau of Mount Wutai, who only gave his surname as Lyu.
According to Lyu, the team was established in March and the members, wearing special badges around their necks while on duty, performed regular patrols or surprise checks over the following months.
Master Yiliang, head of the team, said they recognize the local monks, and they ask unfamiliar monks their identities and details about their visits.
"If they cannot show us the Buddhist certificate, we will take away their robes, ask them to leave and report to the police," he told Xinhua, adding Mongolian and Tibetan monk inspectors have helped communicate with visiting monks from minority regions.
To date, the team has discovered over 600 fake monks and confiscated over 500 monk robes since it was established.
The team also discovered more than 100 cases of monks who have violated religious codes of conduct, according to Master Yiliang.