Cash donations of about $1,000 were stolen from under the Buddha's nose at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau yesterday. The theft took place on the ground floor of the monastery's main hall, where donation boxes stand on both sides of an altar of Kwun Yum, the Goddess of Mercy. A banner above reads: 'Those who regret what they have done are welcome to follow the Buddha.' Nun Sik Yin-lin reported the theft after she got up at 3 am to prepare for the daily prayers and saw one of the boxes was missing. The box, made of aluminium with a concrete base, was found in a storeroom but the lock had been broken and the cash was gone. Monks believe there was more than one thief because the box would weigh more than 60 kilograms if full. Sik said: 'The hall is locked after 6 pm every day. The thieves might have hidden inside. There is no sign of a break-in.' A monastery spokesman said the exact amount of cash stolen was not known but it would be about $1,000. 'They are mostly $5 or $2 coins. So the amount would not be too much,' he said. The monks use the donations to sponsor secondary schools and kindergartens on Lantau. They also run a project to help poverty-stricken villagers in Guangdong.