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Posts tagged ‘Tony Anthony’

The Guardian – “Million-selling reformed killer Tony Anthony exposed as serial fantasist”

Well, the secular media have finally broken the story of Tony Anthony.

The book was a phenomenon. It was translated into 25 languages and won the Christian Booksellers’ Convention Award in 2005.

But now, following a sustained internet campaign by a group of Christians who doubted Anthony’s claims almost from the start, it appears that little of the book is true.

The revelation is acutely embarrassing for the Evangelical Alliance, an influential organisation representing 2 million Christians in the UK, which championed the author. Anthony, who founded his own organisation, Avanti Ministries, was the star speaker during the alliance-backed Global Day of Prayer in 2010, attended by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter an independent investigation, a panel appointed by the alliance has concluded that Anthony had, at best, a sketchy relationship with the truth. In a statement on its website the alliance acknowledges that “large sections of the book Taming the Tiger, and associated materials, which claim to tell the true story of Tony Anthony’s life, do not do so”.


Critics of Anthony, who raised suspicions that many of his claims were untrue as far back as 2005, are now asking why it took the alliance until last year to launch an investigation.

In his book Anthony explains how in 2000 he thought he had hit a “small deer or fox” after his car hit Elizabeth Bracewell, 39, the sister of the former England footballer, Paul Bracewell. She died as a result of her injuries.

During his trial after the death, Anthony, from Southend-on-Sea, was described by the judge as a “devious and manipulative man” who had “deliberately embroidered his story” to throw police off the scent. He was given a 15-month sentence after admitting perverting the course of justice.

Again, I make the point that not even basic checking was done on this man. He has a serious history of dishonesty, and was clearly making up large chunks of his story.

Unsurprisingly, the comments are full of people making disparaging remarks about Christianity.

And frankly, not all of them are undeserved.

Avanti Ministries to close

Tony Anthony‘s ministry is closing.

Both organisations said they “take serious note” of the inquiry’s findings and as a result Avanti said it was “no longer appropriate” to continue supporting Taming the Tiger. The organisation has since decided to close entirely.  

“After much prayer Avanti have decided the time has come to close its ministries,” a statement on its website says. “The Board of Avanti ministries would like to thank all for their support and prayers over the years and give thanks to God for so much achieved in so many lives.”

Having your founder shown to be a fraudster will do that. Worse is being found to have not taken seriously concerns raised over the years.

So is Mr Anthony taking the Christian route and confessing his sin? Nope.

In his statement, Anthony said information about his family history had come to light that he was unaware of when first working on Taming the Tiger and that he now fully accepted that some of the details in the book “are no longer historically accurate”.

“For example, as a very young boy I was raised to believe that the man in whose house I lived and who trained me in Kung Fu was my grandfather. It has since come to light that this individual was not my biological grandfather,” he said.

“Whilst I now recognise this is the factual truth, I cannot accept that the reporting of my memory as it appears in Taming the Tiger is ‘incorrect’. It is wisely recognised that it is common for people to recall past events differently.

Sorry, but caught out is caught out. Tony is now trying to pretend that the problem is details from his distant past which were hazy in his memory.

But in fact, those details (which are clearly false) are only the beginning of his problems. Pretty much his entire book has been shown to be riddled with lies, including details of his more recent conviction, and how that came about. Indeed, much has been shown to be clear fantasy, involving organisations which have never existed, fictitious people doing jobs that simply did not exist, and actions which are physically impossible.

And that is just his book. I’m chasing up some allegations at the moment, that he stole materials from a ministry here in New Zealand. It seems that he is defined much more by dishonesty than he is by any faith in the risen Savior.

He says he will produce a new edition of his book, clearly thinking that by making small changes he can fool enough people to carry on making sales… or something. 

Stay tuned.

Tony Anthony’s false narrative comes crashing down

I’ve written previously about Tony Anthony, founder of Avanti ministries. He wrote a book called Taming the Tiger which outlines his former life in Kung Fu, and how he came to turn his life around.

Trouble is, parts of his story just don’t add up. He’s supposedly a world champion, but apparently just the world champion of something so obscure that it doesn’t show up under google.

Or all those years he spent having Cantonese beaten into him, yet he can only say a few words of Mandarin – and read practically no Chinese at all, even characters he should be extremely familiar with.

Well, it seems that the truth is finally catching up. Here’s some extracts:

Questions were asked about the authenticity of Taming the Tiger ever since it was first published in 2004. Critics were quick to point out that it reads like a work of fiction; and now an intensive investigation by a group of church leaders suggests that it is just that.

The investigation began after Mike Hancock resigned from his post as a director of Avanti Ministries Ltd, the charitable company set up by Anthony to support his work. Hancock had asked for proof of Tony Anthony’s claims but was met with evasion. “I understood that I had a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure that his story could be thoroughly verified. I was unable to persuade my fellow directors of the need to do this. I therefore resigned from Avanti and pursued the search for truth with other like-minded Christians,” he said.

It’s incredible that his evasions did not trigger red flags with other members of the board.

As a result of the evidence obtained by the church leaders, the Evangelical Alliance launched a formal inquiry which is due to report any time now.

The informal investigators began by rebutting claims made by Anthony in his book.

One of the long-standing objections raised about Tony Anthony’s story is that there is no record, anywhere, to support claims that he won any Kung Fu competition; let alone that he was three-times world champion. Anthony attempts to deal with this criticism on his website, saying: “The competitions that Tony Anthony took part in are over 200 years old – and they are derived from the lineage of ‘Gong So’ who goes back to the Manchu Dynasty. These competitions are held in mainland China and as they are so specialised Tony Anthony have not known them to be publicised outside of the relevant circles, which is another reason why Tony Anthony doubt very much that you would ever find these competitions advertised on a Google search engine.

Yet in the book, it’s hinted that these competitions are quite the opposite – crass and commercial and not a real indication of one’s skill. In fact, some people who’ve approached him claim he says these competitions were illegal backstreet completions.

But scrutiny of the book’s text reveals that many of the passages detailing Kung Fu techniques were copied, wholesale, from a specialist martial arts website. One passage is lifted from a book about Bruce Lee.

I noted myself how parts read like Mr Lee’s wikipedia page.

But Tony Anthony’s story really came apart when the investigators discovered his true identity: he was born Andonis Andreou Athanasiou on 30 July 1971 in London’s University College Hospital. Tony Anthony has now confirmed that this is his true identity.

Having ascertained his true identity the investigators discovered that Tony Anthony could not have been taken to China by his Kung Fu grandfather when he was four: Anthony’s grandfather was a laundry worker in Cardiff who later owned a café in Streatham. He died seven years before Anthony was born.

But many of these details would have been hard to check. However, there’s some material that should have been obvious to check – at least in hindsight.

In the book’s version of the accident, Anthony says that he thought he had hit a “small deer or fox” that had “limped back into the undergrowth” because he had stopped his car and couldn’t see anything on the road.

He says that when he was questioned by police, “We couldn’t tell our story fast enough. No more lies. We were both desperate to spill out details of the dreadful accident. I couldn’t care less about the interrogation. I wanted to die. All I could think about was the woman I had killed.”

But news reports of the police investigation, inquest and trial reveal a very different picture. The woman who died was Elizabeth Bracewell, a 39-year-old girl-guide helper, and sister of the former Everton, Newcastle, Fulham and England footballer Paul Bracewell.

She was discovered in plain view in the middle of the road by a motorist who saw Anthony’s car speed off. And far from admitting the story, Tony Anthony and his wife Sarah told a series of lies and pleaded not guilty when they first appeared in court.

They were both sentenced for perverting the course of justice. The judge, Mr Recorder Stevenson, described Tony Anthony as a “devious and manipulative man” who had “deliberately embroidered his story” to throw police off the scent.

While it could have been difficult to check if he was born where he said he was, and impossible to find out what he might have done while in China, it should have been much easier to get full details of this court case.

But there’s even more basic red-flags than that. This is a guy who, by his own admission, has murdered people. Again, by his own admission He never served time for those killings.

That this fake has spent so long taking money from honest people is a wake-up call. All the signs were there, but no one was willing to ask the hard questions.

Thanks to the reader who emailed the tip.

A Plea for Christian Common Sense and Healthy Skepticism

What this guy is saying is important:

I have long been of the opinion that Christians need to be led by their spiritual leaders into a default attitude of healthy skepticism regarding wild claims of supernatural occurrences. I think non-Christians also need to be educated to exercise a certain amount of common sense skepticism about things that seem blatantly doubtful such as alien abductions.

There was a very popular book about Satanism by an evangelical Christian who claimed he had become a high priest of a Satanic cult and that Satanism was rampant in America. My students were reading the book and passing it around. When I taught my course the subject of that book always came up. When I spoke in churches about cults I was constantly being pressed to comment on it. I read the book and didn’t believe a word of it. Never did. It had the “ring” of untruth. My internal nonsense detector rang loudly as I read it. I told people about my disbelief in the man and his story and his claims and was called a skeptic (in a bad sense) and unspiritual. It was, as the saying goes, déjà vu all over again. Fortunately for me, the book was exposed as false later. But not one of those people who called me unspiritual for disbelieving it ever came back to tell me “You were right and I was wrong.”

I was given a book a few years ago, by a guy called Tony Anthony. It’s called Taming the Tiger.

He made some claims that are rather easy to verifiy, and I did so. Well, it’s a complete hoax. It’s also doing damage.

Tony Anthony is currently an evangelist, who claims to have won Kung-Fu world championship four times. He has written a book about his past called Taming the Tiger.He claims his grandfather took him to China by the age of 4, and was trained to master all the arts of Kung-Fu. He trained up to the age of 20, became a professional bodyguard for influential people, but when his fiancee died, he began a life of crime in his rage and depression. He beat up and killed several people and ended up in a jail, where a man called Michael Wright, a Christian, visited him and taught him about Jesus and God. Tony became a Christian, and has been an evangelist ever since.

You can listen his story here: Link

I have read the book, and I actually thought his story was true, until I heard his story has no evidence or sources indicating it was true at all. No evidence about him ever being a Kung-Fu world champion, and no evidence of his crimes. We all know that evangelists aren’t really honest people, so it’s obvious that Anthony just fabricated his story just to gain money. I’m pretty sure the liar doesn’t even believe in God.

I guess it makes sense that he lied about his story. He made some pretty ridiculous claims about his Kung-Fu skills in the book. He said that it was possible to kill a person within a second by pinching from certain points in their bodies. I wonder if Anthony could still do this if he was asked? I guess it would be un-Christian if he did, so there’s no use demanding him to show his incredible Kung-Fu skills again…

Anthony’s Wikipedia page has been deleted due to a lack of citation of his claims.

Among my observations:

  • He spoke Cantonese, but in spite of the fact he spoke it every day he only remembers Mandarin words
  • His training read like parts of it had been copped from Bruce Lee’s Wikipedia page
  • His claim to have 3 world titles got gradually modified as people questioned him – the forum I was reading suggested he was now saying they were small, illegal competitions held in a garage somewhere.
  • He repeatedly offers excuses instead of real answers to questions about his background – even months later, his promise to put details on a specific page on his web site was unfilled
  • His parents disappeared while he was in prison and he says nothing more about them. If my parents disappeared in mysterious circumstances, I’d be tearing the country apart!

Here’s another list from a forum that discusses fake martial artists.

1. There are no traces of the organizations under which Tony became World Kung Fu Champion although he names them. When this was pointed out Tony more recently said it he gave incorrect names to protect his identity from his Chinese family although he is publishing the book in China. He also said the organization was small, illegal and unknown and that is why he calls himself a 3 times World Champion. Is this a World Champion?

2. The Publisher and co-author co-operated with questions admit no facts were checked. The publisher, after consulting Tony, said Tony had promised him that he would post a Q&A on Tony’s website www.avantiministries.comwith answers to people’s questions. Years later this has not happened.

3. The impressive teaching materials Tony uses and says he wrote appear to have been plagiarised. Their frustrated author appears on the thread.

4. There are multiple discrepancies. Although the book describes Tony as having a Chinese mother and growing up and training in China Tony, when questioned, speaks almost no Chinese. There has never been a Saudi Ambassador to Cyprus while Tony describes being his bodyguard. Tony avoids questions about these and many others. Martial Arts proponents have followed up a surprising number of facts on an international scale. These can be followed on the thread.

5. Martial Arts proponents note the almost exact similarities in the tests Tony passed to the opening sequences of the ‘Kung Fu’ TV series starring David Caradine.

6. Unusually for a Christian Leader Tony describes his policy to have no contact with his parents for the last fifteen years. This is very unusual. Tony speaks fluent Greek but not Chinese. He was in prison in Cyprus. There is record of an Antonio Anthony, born to a Greek Cypriot mother in North London. No one of his associates gets to meet his mother. This is probably the key place to confirm or disprove Tony’s story – a polite visit to his roots.

7. The Time Line of Tony’s life, which someone on the thread has produced causes major questions – copy below.

8. In the UK, in 2000 Tony was sentenced to 15 months in prison for perverting the course of justice. His car had hit a cyclist at night, killing her, but he had not stayed at the scene and later denied it to police.

2002 released from prison. 2004 published Taming the Tiger. This is a newspaper article at the time:…ut_death_crash. What are the ‘other unrelated charges’ in another Court that the article mentions?

9. Tony has offered a CD that answers people’s misgivings and a Q&A on his website that responds to the questions from non Christian Martial Artists and concerned Christians. He also says he responds to respectful emailed questions. In practice he is evasive and misleading here. The promised Q&A only has questions about God. Tony told a visitor to his offices that, ‘the decision was taken to focus on Jesus rather than myself’. The CD has little on it. You are welcome to see what response you get to emailed questions.

10. Tony describes several incident s where he killed terrorists who attacked the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the UK and Cyprus. These would have been major International scandals of course (related to which Country was behind them) but there is no record of any such attacks and killings is there?

It does no credit to anyone to have this fraud going around – or to spread stupid stories.

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