Ting Wai Monastery scandal: HK$500,000 missing, says solicitor

October 14, 2015 13:09
Chi Ding (left photo) is driven away in a Mercedes-Benz car. Solicitor Mary Jean Reimer (second from right) is vowing to expose more details about money allegedly missing from the Ting Wai Monastery. Photos: SocRec, AppleDaily

Up to HK$500,000 (US$64,520) in donations to a Hong Kong monastery is missing, according to a director.

Solicitor Mary Jean Reimer made the revelation Tuesday at a news conference in which she linked a senior police officer to the missing funds.

Reimer is seeking a government investigation into Hong Kong Ting Wai Monastery and an independent audit of its books, Apple Daily reports.

The Office of the Financial Secretary said it has received a letter from Reimer and is looking into it.

Chi Ding, a Buddhist nun who runs the temple, said she has handed the matter to a lawyer.

Earlier, Chi was reported to have stolen money from the monastery to support a lavish lifestyle and misused its facilities.

Reimer said she noticed unusual actions by Chi during a fundraising in March and September. 

Chi ordered volunteers to deposit the money, from a hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, into an account controlled by her, Reimer said.

Chi refused to comment on Reimer's claims but said she reserves the right to sue for libel.

Reimer said she has filed a petition to freeze all three of the monastery’s bank accounts.

She said about HK$4.5 million in physical donations and HK$1.33 million raised online are intact in a Bank of China account.

An auditor is examining the finances of the monastery and Reimer is seeking court action to expand the investigation to seven years of financial transactions.

Reimer did not disclose the identity of the police officer involved.

Apple Daily later said senior inspector Leung Lai-yiu served as a director of the monastery between November 2003 and September 2008.

Reimer said the unfolding events are "just the tip of the iceberg" after revelations Chi was engaged in marriage fraud with two mainland monks, suggesting possible collusion.

Immigration director Eric Chan said an investigation is in progress. He said anyone convicted of engaging in a sham marriage is subject to repatriation.

Legislator James To urged a police criminal investigation  to protect the interests of the public and the monastery.

Reimer said Chi is no longer a director of the nunnery.

‘High-living’ nun accused of stealing from monastery (Oct. 12, 2015)

Netizens pitch in for century-old Tai Po monastery (July 30, 2015)

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