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Vietnam Closes Two Fake Temples

on 2001/2/17 8:47:02 ( 1234 reads )


HANOI, VIETNAM, February 16, 2001: Vietnamese authorities have sealed off two phony temples built to bilk Buddhist pilgrims out of offerings at one of the country's most popular religious sites, an official said Friday. The first two of 42 fake shrines at the Perfume Pagoda were sealed off Thursday, and local officials plan to close the others as well, said Nguyen Xuan Sinh, deputy chair of the People's Committee of Huong Son village, where the pagoda is located. The site has 31 temples and caves that are recognized as historical relics. The others were built by enterprising villagers in the mid-1990s to collect donations from unsuspecting pilgrims, Sinh said. He said three villagers were sentenced to probation for violating a historical site. "We faced fierce resistance from the owners of the fake temples, but we are determined to close the rest of them by the end of this month,'' Sinh said. Perfume Pagoda, 45 miles west of Hanoi, is one of Vietnam's most popular pilgrimage sites, drawing an average of 450,000 people during the three-month pilgrimage season that starts after the Lunar New Year.

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