NEW YORK — An Atlanta-area Buddhist nun who said police mistook handing out prayer beads for selling jewelry will get her unlicensed-vending case dismissed if she stays out of trouble for six months, a Manhattan judge said Monday.
“It’s a very good outcome” for Li Baojing, said her lawyer, Robert E. Brown.
The Chinese-born Li was arrested June 2 in New York’s Chinatown, where police found her sitting at a bustling corner with a bag full of beaded necklaces and a tin for collecting money. The area is rife with street vendors hawking various wares.
She says she had a sign in Mandarin saying she was collecting contributions for rebuilding her fire-damaged temple and home in Chamblee, Ga., and that she gave the roughly 50-cent necklaces to donors and non-donors alike. She’d come to New York because she thought her fundraising would fare better in its large Chinese community, Brown said.
Police, however, concluded Li was selling costume jewelry without a vendor’s license, and she was arrested on a misdemeanor charge.
Li turned down a plea offer earlier this month; it would have entailed admitting to disorderly conduct, a violation, and doing a day of community service. Prosecutors ultimately agreed with Monday’s arrangement to put the case on track for dismissal.
Li, dressed in a saffron-colored robe, said through an interpreter that she was relieved the legal process is ending but still had the temple to worry about.
She needed to raise donations because of problems with the building’s insurance after the March 26 fire, said Brown, who represented her for free. She has raised about $20,000 of the $30,000 she’s seeking, collecting about $10,000 of those donations since her arrest, he said.
Originally from the Hubei province in central China, Li came to the United States to do missionary work in 1996.
Jennifer Peltz can be reached at http://twitter.com/jennpeltz
—Copyright 2011 Associated Press
Link to original article which appeared in Tricycle http://amitabhabuddha.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/buddhist-nun-arrested-after-handing-out-prayer-beads-on-canal-street-tricycle/
Update:[update from Tricycle from original first article, I tried to call today to verify this information was still correct, however the woman who answered the phone speaks Chinese, and I don't..maybe you can call and verify :) ]
“I am told that the temple Baojing Li is raising money for is the Pu Xian Temple. If you would like to support Baojing Li’s work and make a donation, checks payable to the Atlanta Pu Xian Buddhist Association, Inc, can be sent to 3140 Shallowford Pl, Atlanta, GA 30341. Their phone number is 678-436-3607.”-Tricycle