Sik Chi-ding, the Buddhist nun accused of stealing money from the Ting Wai Monastery in Tai Po last October, was found to have organized two Buddhist ceremonies to “release souls from purgatory”, charging participants HK$100 to HK$2,000 each, Sing Tao Daily reports.
Sik was arrested by immigration officers last October after she was accused of involvement in bogus marriages with two other monks, one of them called Sik Chi-kwong.
Sik Chi-ding has reportedly told law enforcement officers that her marriage with Chi-kwong was genuine and that they loved each other, which made investigations difficult.
After the pair’s bail was renewed a few times, they were released unconditionally after they refused to extend their bail with help from a solicitor.
The pair was believed to have hosted two Buddhist events over the last two months and asked participants to pay in cash, and in return they issued receipts for donations which could be used for tax deductions.
Solicitor Mary Jean Reimer, who brought the Ting Wai Monastery case to light, said volunteers working for her were able to record the ceremonies on videos along with the collection of donations.
But one of the volunteers taking the video was later spotted by Sik Chi-kwong and was asked to leave the venue immediately.
Martin Cheung Ngai-ping, chief executive of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, said “releasing souls from purgatory” is not a Buddhist practice, although there is such tradition among Chinese people.
He warned against claims by people that they could help in the release of souls of dead pets or stillborn babies for a substantial fee, saying such ceremonies are scams.
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