Hong Kong police are under fire for alleged incompetence in their handling of a fake Buddhist monk and for wasting the time of two foreign witnesses.
Prominent Buddhist solicitor Mary Jean Reimer also criticized the back-and-forth between the police and criminal investigators which she said showed their laid-back attitude, Apple Daily reports.
Reimer said in a Facebook post that the police held up two Argentinian tourists, who had agreed to testify, because they could not find a competent English interpreter.
The Argentinians waited more than three hours to be deposed while the police scrambled to find anyone with a reasonable English proficiency level, she said.
Reimer said the Argentinians were in Hong Kong for just three days.
The suspect, dressed as a Buddhist monk, was spotted selling prayer beads to tourists at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Sha Tin in March.
Police took the man into custody and proceeded to book him after the Argentinians agreed to give evidence, the report said.
Criminal investigators took over but they were tangled up when they could not find an interpreter.
Reimer said the suspect had admitted impersonating a monk but investigators said there was insufficient evidence to charge him with obtaining property by deception.
Criminal investigators took four hours to do a preliminary investigation, which led to another delay when the case was sent back to the arresting officers, Reimer said.
In reply to media inquiries, police officials said the suspect was held for further investigation over a potential visa violation.
Reimer, who has been campaigning to expose fake monks, criticized the deteriorating language skills of the Hong Kong police for being unable to handle a deposition in either English or Putonghua.
Solicitor uncovers fake Buddhist monk in Tai Po (March 17, 2016)
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