Sunday, August 20, 2017

Spanish couple in hot water over Buddha image tattoo

A Spanish tourist visiting Bagan with his wife over the weekend found his trip interrupted when police discovered a Buddha tattoo on his leg.

A Spanish tourist was reported to police in Bagan after a monk spotted his Buddha tattoo. Photo: FacebookA Spanish tourist was reported to police in Bagan after a monk spotted his Buddha tattoo. Photo: Facebook

The tourist and his wife were escorted to Yangon on July 10, according to Mandalay Region police.

Shin Sandavaya from the Tharmakay monastery reported the case to the police station in Bagan after he spotted a Buddha image on the leg of visitor outside Kantotpalin Pagoda.

Religious authorities from the Nyaung-U office and immigration officers interviewed the 46-year-old tourist and confirmed that he has a Buddha tattoo on his calf that was inked in Spain. The two tourists were sent to Yangon the same day, and the embassy contacted, according to Mandalay police.

“They arrived in Yangon [yesterday] morning at 5am leaving Bagan by bus. The tourist police took them to the Spanish embassy around 5:30am,” said an officer from the Mingaladon township station.

AFP quoted a police officer saying that the man will be deported to Bangkok. The Myanmar Times was unable to independently confirm deportation plans.

In 2014, a Canadian tourist visiting Myanmar with his girlfriend was detained by officials after a social media firestorm erupted over Buddhist tattoos on his leg. The Buddhist university lecturer, who works in Hong Kong, was reportedly going to be deported until the Chinese embassy intervened.

In 2015, bar manager and New Zealander Phil Blackwood was convicted of insulting religion when his establishment promoted a cheap drinks night with a poster of a Buddha wearing headphones. He was pardoned and released in January.

Additional reporting by Toe Wai Aung, translation by Khine Thazin Han