Sri Lanka jails Australian cricket streaker
COLOMBO, July 27, 2016 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan court Wednesday jailed and fined an Australian streaker for indecent exposure during a cricket Test between the nations, an act which local Buddhist priests found offensive.
The man, identified as Alexander James from Queensland, was jailed for one week for his naked run across the ground in Pallekele near the picturesque town of Kandy during Tuesday’s washed-out final session on day one.
"He was charged on two counts — drunken behaviour at a public place and indecent exposure," an official at the Kandy magistrate’s court told AFP by telephone.
"He was also fined 3,000 rupees ($20)."
Streaking at sporting events is rare in conservative Sri Lanka and police stepped up security after the naked escapade at Pallekele International Stadium, where Sri Lanka are taking on Australia in the first Test.
Footage showed the man jump the fence, strip, then run across the covers brought on to protect the ground from rain that had halted play. As an armed police commando tried to tackle him, he ran off the ground but was arrested later.
A police official said they pressed charges in part because his actions had hurt the sensibilities of Buddhist priests in Kandy, home to one of Sri Lanka’s holiest shrines, the Temple of the Tooth.
Sri Lanka is highly sensitive to perceived insults to Buddhism, with authorities deporting a British nurse in 2014 for sporting a Buddha tattoo on her arm.
Sri Lanka barred another British tourist from entering the island in March 2013 for showing "disrespect" to the religion by having a similar tattoo.
In August 2012 three French tourists were sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended for five years, for kissing a Buddha statue in what the authorities considered a sign of disrespect.