A nun accused of involvement in bogus marriages and embezzlement has been found to be spending donations made to the monastery on endowment insurance, trips to the mainland, furniture, lingerie, cosmetics, and jewellery, while listing all the expenses under “monastery repair works expenditure”.

Sik Chi-ding, who is chief nun at Ting Wai Monastery, was arrested by the Immigration Department last month and is currently on bail.

sik chi-ding
Sik Chi-ding. Photo: Stand News via TVB.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Ting Wai Monastery director Mary Jean Reimer said that she had already informed the police of the mismanagement of funds at the monastery, Ming Pao reported. A 2014-15 financial statement showed that Sik spent around $896k on “repairing the monastery”, even though she had told Reimer that the monastery was falling apart and lacked money for renovation works.

A Shiseido receipt from 2014 showed that a woman named “Lung Yan Roy”, which was Sik’s name on her ID, has purchased around HK$7,000 worth of cosmetic products. She had also spent HK$11,340 on lingerie and purchased items such as Calvin Klein coats and scarves, Osim massage products, and gold necklaces from Chow Sang Sang, all of which she passed off as monastery repair expenses.

Reimer (holding microphone) at a press conference. File Photo: Stand News via Peter Au from SocREC.

“I don’t know if she was [using the money on] repairing her figure or the monastery,” Reimer said. Sik was also said to have spent around HK$600,000 on miscellaneous items last year, but had kept none of the receipts. A Sing Tao daily report further revealed that “Lung Yan Roy” spent millions of dollars on an endowment insurance plan purchased from an agent named “Pitty Fung”, who shared the same name as the daughter of a former Ting Wai monastery director. The invoice for the insurance was also said to have been sent to the ex-director’s address, rather than to Ting Wai Monastery.

Reimer said that according to the transaction records, Sik had donated around HK$100,000 to a monastery in Jiangxi, China in 2011. A team sent to the mainland by Reimer confirmed that no such monastery existed. Another invoice read that Sik had given out $120,000 of “red packets” to monks and volunteers. “If I had known that she was giving out red packets in thousands of dollars, I most certainly would not have donated money to her.”

Reimer donated HK$100,000 to the monastery this year and helped put together a crowdfunding campaign that raised around HK$1.3m, after Sik told her that the monastery needed funds for conservation work.

mainland monks
The two mainland monks that Sik had been accused of marrying.

Last month, Reimer revealed that Sik had been mismanaging the funds at the monastery and that she had married two mainland monks so as to assist them in obtaining residency in Hong Kong.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.