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Celeb Taoist conman on the run

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A celebrity Taoist monk has gone awol after it was revealed he probably couldn't in reality sit crossed-legged under water for two hours.

"Supreme Master" Li Yi, 40, attracted a following of 30,000 faithful, including the rich and famous who were willing to cough up to 9,000 yuan (£900) a week to attend "health and philosophy" programmes at the Shaolong Taoist Temple near Chongqing.

As well as boasting the aforementioned subaquatic ability, Li also claimed he "could withstand 220 volts of electricity circulating through his body", as the Telegraph puts it.

He additionally insisted he was a visiting professor at Cambridge University (not so, says the uni), and a speaker at Peking University (likewise false, according to "China's most prestigious college").

Li's impressive list of credentials is topped with successful businessman - if you consider pocketing a £1m loan taken by one of his companies a sign of success.

Having failed to repay the cash, and following an investigation by the Southern Metropolis Daily, Li has apparently taken to his heels. Regarding his underwater stunt, Chongqing state religious officials "suggested that the monk was in fact sitting inside a sealed glass box underwater, with enough air inside to last him for the duration of the performance".

This revelation, as regular readers will already have realised, means Li has the honour of becoming El Reg's first Taoist twatdangler. ®

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