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Page last updated at 04:40 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 05:40 UK

Easter Island fines ear chipper

Marko Kulju (right) talks to a policeman in court on 8 April
Kulju was spotted chipping the statue on 23 March

A Finnish tourist who chipped an ear off one of Easter Island's world-famous statues has been fined $17,000 (8,500) and told to stay away for three years.

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

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.

Kulju called his attempted theft of the ear "the worst mistake of my life" in comments published by the Santiago daily newspaper La Tercera.

Moai statue on Easter Island with its earlobe missing
The authorities are inspecting the statue to see if it can be repaired

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.

There are nearly 900 moai on Easter Island in various stages of construction, some of them more than 10m (33ft) tall and weighing more than 80 tons.

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


SEE ALSO
Finn held over Easter Island ear
26 Mar 08 |  Americas
Chile mulls Easter Island limits
07 Aug 05 |  Americas
Country profile: Chile
28 Feb 08 |  Country profiles

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