Local Connection: Fake Monks - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: Fake Monks

There is no question that our visitor industry is central to our economy, and the experience visitors have here is essential to our good reputation around the world.

That's why the homeless crisis first started to get the attention of the business community - when Waikiki became a haven for homeless people.

But there is another threat to our international reputation - the underground industry of people trying to rip off tourists left and right.

The latest incarnation is a team of men dressed like Buddhist monks who aggressively seek what they call donations in visitor areas. The same phenomenon is happening in other destination areas across the country. 

Whether they really are monks from some unusual sect is unclear, but they are clearly working together to raise money for someone or 
something.

The attorney general's office say they are not legally registered as a charity in the state and are therefore likely breaking the law.

It's not a major crime. However we should not become accustomed to our tourists being regularly hassled by panhandlers and aggressive 
salespeople.

We think there are two parts to solving this problem: the industry should do more to admit there is an issue.Secondly - even though these may be minor crimes, more needs to be done by state officials to keep people from hassling our visitors.

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