The Home Affairs Bureau is looking into claims of mismanagement at a Buddhist monastery after its chief nun was questioned on the whereabouts of millions of dollars in donations and accused of two sham marriages with mainland monks. Sik Chi Ding, abbess of Ting Wai Monastery in Tai Po, neither confirmed nor denied the allegations but said she had reported to law enforcement agencies three times since September regarding “matters of the monastery”. The claims were made by solicitor Mary Jean Reimer, who serves on the board of directors of the monastery. As a Buddhist she started a fund-raising campaign for the monastery in March after learning it was in poor condition and could not afford maintenance. More than HK$5 million was raised within half a year. Appearing on a radio programme and giving a press conference with seven monastery volunteers yesterday, Reimer said she came across the mismanagement of funds while working as a volunteer. Chi Ding had bypassed a special bank account designated for maintenance funds and transferred some of the donations into another account under her control, said Reimer and Jenny Au Ching-yee, a volunteer in charge of donations. They and other volunteers also noticed anomalies with the abbess’ lifestyle and raised questions about spending. “After we confronted her, she paid back more than HK$400,000 and she said it was the maximum she could repay,” Reimer said, adding that she did not know how much money was missing. She is applying for a court order for the monastery to disclose its full financial records. She also alleged that the abbess had admitted that she had married twice in order to help two mainland monks secure permanent Hong Kong residency. Both monks were affiliated with Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, which declined to comment yesterday. Its abbot, Sik Chi Wai, president of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, could not be reached. The South China Morning Post attempted to approach Chi Ding at the office of the Ting Wai Monastery yesterday. She did not take any questions from journalists at the scene, then at about 2.30pm she jumped into a black Mercedes driven by a man who claimed to be her disciple. Without spelling out details of the case, the nun later issued a statement saying she had reported the matter to police. “I would not speculate on the motives behind Ms Reimer’s recent acts. The matter has been passed to my lawyer and I will not further comment,” Chi Ding wrote. A search on the Home Affairs Bureau’s website revealed that the monastery was not a registered institution under the Chinese Temples Ordinance. “[I]n view of the recent reports of suspected mismanagement of the Ting Wai Monastery, the Home Affairs Bureau will contact the Hong Kong Buddhist Association to understand the matter and consider the necessary and appropriate follow up action,” a bureau spokeswoman said.