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A man who made headlines two years ago when he launched a high-profile but ultimately fruitless search for the Great Bell of Dhammazedi has announced plans to resume his quest.
San Linn, a retired Burmese navy officer who attracted widespread public attention with his failed first attempt to find the lost bell, held a press conference in Rangoon on Tuesday pledging to complete the task by the end of August.
The bell, which is believed to be the largest ever cast, hasn’t been seen since the early 17th century, when it sank to the bottom of the Rangoon River while being transported to the port town of Syriam, which at the time was under the control of Portuguese mercenary Filipe De Brito.
De Brito intended to melt down the bell from Burma’s most sacred shrine to make cannons to fend off a Burmese offensive to reclaim the town.
San Linn’s announcement in August 2014 that he intended to locate the bell using modern technology and the help of a clairvoyant monk captured the public’s imagination and won the support of the Rangoon authorities, but also attracted scorn from critics.
Khin San Hlaing, an MP for the National League for Democracy, declared the whole effort a “national shenanigan” and urged that charges of fraud be laid against San Linn after he falsely claimed that he had located the bell weeks after starting the search.
“The [organisers] claimed they had found the bell, giving false hope to the public, who now feel cheated,” said Khin San Hlaing. “As of today, the government has not taken any action on those who are responsible for the mission — as it was commissioned as a subject of national interest, it can be deemed as a national shenanigan.”