British Woman To Be Deported From Sri Lanka For Buddha Tattoo

Naomi Michelle Coleman, 37, 'hurt others' feelings' according to Sri Lankan officials...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

We’ve all heard the one about the girl with the dragon tattoo, but what about the woman with the Buddha tattoo? Well, something tells us the most exciting part of her trip to Sri Lanka is now over, as she’s being deported. Why? Smuggling drugs? Trafficking people? Getting so drunk she did a wee in a hotel’s water-tank, causing all the guests to get really ill? No, it’s none of the normal worries that travellers have about their behaviour when stepping foot onto the Indian subcontinent. It’s actually because she has a tattoo of Buddha.

Naomi Michelle Coleman, 37, was arrested in Colombo after arriving in from India. She has a tattoo of the Buddha with a lotus flower on her right arm, which was spotted by officials. She was then arrested for ‘hurting others’ religious feelings’ and is now in a deportation centre awaiting a flight to return her to Britain.

In Buddhism, it is considered disrespectful to toy with images of Buddha. According to the government’s travel advice website for Sri Lanka: ‘Don’t pose for photographs by standing in front of a statue of Buddha. The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is a serious offence and tourists have been convicted for this.’

The British High Commission in Colombo told the BBC: ‘We are aware of the case and are providing appropriate consular assistance.’

This isn’t the first time it’s happened. Just over a year ago, Antony Ratcliffe, 42, was turned away from Colombo’s main airport for his Buddha tattoo. And in Thailand in 2011, the culture minister Niphit Intharasombat tried to push through a law which would have banned tattooists from giving people (tourists, mainly) Buddha tattoos.

Any lessons learned? If you’re on an Asian holiday and looking for a hepatitis C risk with dated pesudo-ethnic aesthetics, well, just don’t. Go spend your money on some fake Havianas and Ray-Bans instead.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Getty** **

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us