People are being urged not to give money to a German beggar who exploits a grotesquely deformed foot to fund a party lifestyle.
Conman Benjamin Holst, aged 32, has for years been travelling throughout Southeast Asia — all paid for by kind-hearted people who assume he needs help with his disability.
In stark contrast to the sob story he gives out on the streets, his Facebook feed catalogues an enviable life of constant travel, fine food and nightclubbing.
He is currently believed to be in Vietnam, after catching a flight from Kualar Lumpur where he had arrived after travelling down from Singapore by train.
His recent Facebook posts show him enjoying the nightlife, food and scenery of Bukit Bintang and Penang island.
“Time for cheaper girls and beach,” he wrote in one post anticipating his journey from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.
Holst suffers from a rare form of gigantism called macrodystrophia lipomatosa that has caused his left leg to swell severely.
He has also been spotted exploiting this benign but painful-looking condition in the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
His Facebook page is filled with photos bragging about his exploits in these countries.
British university student Lauren Sula, 23, warned people in a backpackers’ Facebook group to keep away from Holst.
“He takes advantage of people all over Asia by begging for money, which you may at first think is to help fund his healthcare for his disability.
“However, he brags on his Facebook page about how he’s staying in expensive hotels, eating in nice restaurants and spending endless money on prostitutes.”
His scam first came to light in 2014, when he claimed his passport and cash were stolen during a trip to Thailand.
Locals, expats and tourists rallied round to help him raise money for a flight home. It was later revealed he had used the cash to take a taxi to Pattaya where he blew it all on drink and prostitutes.
When his deception was discovered, he was detained by police before being deported.
Later, in May 2015, he arrived in the Philippines, staying in upmarket hotels in Manila in Angeles City. He then moved on to Indonesia, where he was arrested as he partied with girls using the money he got from panhandling.
Far from showing any shame about his activities, he seems to revel in what he calls “work”, regularly boasting of the glamorous side of his double life to his near 5,000 followers on Facebook.