PETALING JAYA: It isn’t every day one sees a disabled German man, down on his luck in a foreign land, begging for a few bucks here and there to ease his misery.
And being mostly compassionate at heart, most locals have fallen for his story lock, stock and barrel, not realising Benjamin Holst, 32, was using their hard-earned cash to live the high life, getting drunk on beers, eating at fancy bars and partying on the beach with “cheaper girls”.
Documenting his escapades on Facebook via photos and updates, Holst has unsurprisingly earned many undesirable labels – “Asia’s biggest scammer” and “useless beggar” to name a few.
On March 7, Holst’s Facebook status read, “Back in Kuala Lumpur. Hope good nightlife today and buy my flight ticket to Da nang.”
He posted pictures of the Petronas Twin Towers against a grey sky and a dish he likely bought with another’s money.
On March 5, he openly announced on Facebook he was in Penang, a day after he posted that he was heading to the island for “cheaper girls and beach”.
In that posting one Damien Karver asked Holst, “What happened to your face? Did you get attacked for being a useless beggar.”
Suffering from a rare form of localised gigantism called Macrodystrophia lipomatosa on his right leg that has caused it to swell to gigantic proportions, pictures on the Internet show Holst in countries like Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Cambodia and Indonesia begging on sidewalks for money to fund his partying lifestyle.
There is even one shot of him lying on his back in public on a Guadalupe overpass holding a paper cup in his hand. The picture of him, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, was featured in the Philippines Daily.
The same report also said Holst was once found homeless in Khaosan Road in Thailand and that an organisation called Deutscher Hilfscerein Thailand gave him shelter and cash amounting to thousands so he could find his way back to Germany.
The organisation had taken pity on Holst after he said he had lost all his money as well as his passport and was longing to be reunited with his family.
However he was deported soon after when he was spotted partying with girls in Pattaya, many of whom had taken pity on him because of his medical condition and the stories he was spinning.
A quick search on the internet shows his many exploits in the various countries he has visited, including Denmark where he was pictured slumped on a street sidewalk begging and another in Cambodia, where he is lying on his side with a paper cup of money beside him. – FMT