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Published on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sri Lanka deports tourist because of Buddha tattoo

A British tourist said he was "shocked and upset" after being deported from Sri Lanka for displaying a Buddha tattoo on his arm.

The 42-year-old was turned back at Colombo's main airport last Friday for allegedly showing a lack of respect for Buddhism.

Despite having a valid two-day tourist visa, the man said he was frog marched to a detention area after immigration officials spotted the Buddha's head tattoo poking out from the sleeve of his T-shirt.

"As soon as he saw it the chief officer went crazy. You could see it on his face, he looked really angry and said I would have to go back to London," he told the BBC.

"They took my passport and held me there for an hour and a half. All the time they were bringing people in to look at my arm, and they were shaking their heads."

Last year, three French tourists in Sri Lanka were given suspended prison sentences for taking photographs that showed them pretending to kiss a statue of Buddha at a temple.


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