10 Apr 2008

Finnish tourist fined thousands of dollars for chipping off moai on Easter Island

11:00 am on 10 April 2008

A Finnish tourist who chipped an ear off one of Easter Island's world-famous statues has been fined nearly 17,000 US dollars and told to stay away for three years .

Easter Island prosecutors say Marko Kulju, 26, deposited the money into a bank account overseen by the court that handled his case.

He also wrote a public apology for damaging one of the statues, which are protected under Chilean law.

The statues of Polynesian ancestors are believed to be up to 1,000 years old.

He was detained last month and could have faced seven years in prison for his action.

Police on the Pacific island, which is an overseas territory of Chile, said a woman had seen him chip off the earlobe, which then fell and broke into pieces.

The island's Rapa Nui National Park, in which the moai are situated, became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1995.