Germans Detained With War Medals, Clocks

A German man has been detained in Rostov for attempting to take a World War II-era Soviet medal out of the country, a customs official in Rostov said Wednesday.

Customs officials at the Rostov airport discovered the Order of the Red Star medal while inspecting the German man's baggage as he was preparing to board a flight Frankfurt on Tuesday, the official told RIA-Novosti.

Under the law, the Order of the Red Star medal is a cultural and historical treasure and therefore cannot be taken out of the country.

The unidentified German man said he had purchased the medal at a market, RIA-Novosti reported. Prosecutors were determining Wednesday whether or not to charge the man, the report said.

Many items of cultural significance that are illegal to take out of the country are sold freely at tourist locations.

It is not the first time a foreigner has been detained for attempting to take Soviet relics out of the country. Last year, Roxana Contreras, 29, a Chilean citizen studying in Voronezh on an exchange program, was barred from leaving the country after being charged with smuggling old currency and Soviet war medals.

Contreras was later fined and released.

In an unrelated incident, customs officials at the Samara airport have detained a German man for trying to carry a radioactive clock onto a flight to Frankfurt, the Rosbalt news agency reported Tuesday.

It was unclear when the man was detained. But customs officials in Samara said it was the second time in just over two months that a German man was detained trying to board a flight with a radioactive clock.

On March 29, a German man was detained while trying to board a plane to the Czech Republic carrying a dissembled aviator's clock in a box, Rosbalt said.

Customs officials noticed that the box was emitting gamma rays, the report said.