A LEG tattoo depicting Buddha has landed a Spanish tourist in hot water in Burma (Myanmar) after Buddhist monks expressed their dismay over the use of the image.
Police said Monday that the European tourist faced deportation after his leg tattoo was spotted at a popular tourist destination. According to AFP, the man was detained in Bagan, home to an ancient temple complex, and was subsequently escorted to Yangon.
A police officer who, spoke on condition of anonymity, said monks informed authorities about the tattoo on the Spanish man’s leg.
“Monks in Bagan saw a Buddha tattoo on his right leg because he was wearing shorts. They informed us as it’s not appropriate,” he was quoted as saying.
Another police official, who also spoke anonymously, confirmed said the man would be deported to Bangkok on Monday evening.
“We will send him back because he violated the rules as a tourist here,” he said.
An official from the Bagan Township Administration Office identified the man as Cesar Hernandez, who was travelling in the country with his wife, Bella Naija reported.
“Some people took photos of his tattoo and informed the police about it. For their safety, the police advised them to leave Bagan,” deputy officer Kyaw Thu Win said.
Aung San Win, the Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture, said the couple was ‘advised’ to leave the country, appearing to contradict the police statement.
“We have no reason to deport them. We’ll just ask them to take care for their safety because some people would view the tattoo on his leg as an insult to the religion,” Aung said.
Insulting Buddha is a serious offence in Burma. New Zealand native Philip Blackwood was found guilty in March 2015 of insulting Buddhism after a flyer promoting the bar he managed in Yangon depicting a psychedelic Buddha wearing headphones was posted on Facebook.
Blackwood was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, along with the bar’s owner Tun Thurein and another manager Htut Ko Ko Lwin, who are Burmese citizens. Blackwood was released earlier this year as part of a prisoner amnesty.