Monks stage protest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2007, 12:00am

Four monks accused of stealing donations from Macau's world heritage A-Ma Temple staged a silent sit-in yesterday, claiming they were unfairly kicked out.

The protest was condemned by visitors and temple managers for damaging the reputation of the 500-year-old religious landmark.

Abbot Kok Tang-kei and three other monks arrived at the temple at 9am and sat in front of the religious effigies.

One of them carried a large placard claiming the A-Ma Temple Preservation Association had no right to take over the temple.

Officers escorted the monks away when they refused to leave.

They told the monks a court had ruled the association had the property and management rights of the temple.

Francisco Lam, of the association, said the monks had damaged the reputation of the temple and Macau.

'I heard the monks telling the officers as they were taken away that the temple was a public place and everybody should have the right to go here,' Mr Lam said.

'Of course we welcome everybody to visit A-Ma Temple. But we will not accommodate those who come to cause disruptions.

'It was especially grave that the monks had chosen to come on a Sunday when we have the largest number of visitors.'

Mr Lam said the association was seeking legal advice on resolving the dispute with the monks.