Money, Jewelry Pilfered From Famed Inle Lake Pagoda

By Salai Thant Zin 28 November 2014

RANGOON — More than 10 million kyats (US$9670) worth of money and jewelry has been stolen the famous Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda at the Inle Lake township of Nyaung Shwe on Wednesday, according to the building’s custodians.

The pagoda, home to an internationally famous two-week boat racing festival to mark the end of Buddhist Lent, is a popular destination for Burmese travellers and foreign tourists. Officials noticed the theft after unlocking a cabinet to store the day’s donations.

“When I unlocked the steel cabinet to put the money in, the key did not go into the lock,” Sai Aung Kyaw Tun, a member of the pagoda’s board of trustees, told The Irrawaddy. “I pulled the doors and it opened. I found the cabinet empty. The loss is estimated at more than 10 million kyats.”

“We reported the theft to the police and they looked for clues at the pagoda yesterday,” said Khin Zaw Oo, administrator of the Tha Lay village tract, on Friday. “The person responsible for looking after the gold foil donation counter is on a trip and the case will be opened when he returns.”

Police corporal Khin Maung Si, from Nyaung Shwe’s Nan Pan Police Station, told The Irrawaddy that actions had been taken based on information gathered by the police investigation.

Despite the theft, the pagoda remains open to the public for visitation and prayer.