German tourist returns unlucky souvenir
11 February 2005
BANGKOK – A German tourist has returned a small stone he took four years ago from the ruins of a temple in Ayuthaya – Thailand’s ancient capital – after encountering a run of bad luck he blamed on the artifact, tourism officials said on Friday.
Michael Beil of Gottingen, Germany, returned the souvenir to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) along with a letter of apology – written in German, Thai and English – for filching the unlucky artifact.
Beil said he had picked up the stone while visiting a temple in Ayuthaya in 2001.
“(Since then) my Thai girlfriend and I have in our life much pech (bad luck) and misfortune had,” wrote Beil, in somewhat stilted English.
Beil attributed the bad luck to his “irreverence” to the “holy city” for pocketing the temple artifact and taking it back to Germany. He asked authorities to return the stone to the “original historical and holy place” and “pray for my Thai girlfriend and me…so that our luck again to us backs”.
TAT’s Ayuthaya office director Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya said he would take the stone to the Fine Arts Department for safe keeping and to determine whether it was indeed an artifact from Ayuthaya.
“Taking artifacts from Ayuthaya is against the law,” Chattan told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa, while adding that the government had no plans to press charges against the already ill-fated Beil.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of something like this happening in Ayuthaya, although I’ve heard similar stories from other places,” said Chattan, who has been TAT director in Ayuthaya for the past three years.
Ayuthaya was the capital of Thai kingdoms between 1350 to 1763. On 7 April 1763, it fell and was utterly destroyed by an invading Burmese army, forcing the Thais to eventually set up a new capital in Bangkok in 1782.
Subject: German news