ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka police have arrested 41 suspects so far in connection with an online sex-trafficking ring that had victimised a 15-year-old girl.
The police media division said the latest suspect who is a resident in Negombo was arrested on Monday (12).
Among the more recently arrested suspects is a police officer and a former bank manager who were taken into custody Sunday (11).
The arrests so far include the girl’s mother, the deputy chairman of the Mihintale Pradeshiya Sabha, drivers, a designer who had worked on the ads promoting the victim online, a Buddhist monk, former Maldivan state minister Mohamed Ashmalee, a captain, several crew members of a ship, two gem merchants and a cardiologist attached to Sri Lanka Navy.
The cardiologist, the deputy chairman of the Mihintale Pradeshiya Sabha, the two gem merchants and the mother of the victim were granted bail by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court after they were produced in court.
The investigation was first launched by the Mount Lavinia police, beginning with the arrest of the first suspect, on June 07 – a man who had posted several advertisements online and sold the girl to third parties over a period of three months for prices as varied as 15,000, 20,000 and 30,000 rupees.
Further investigations are being conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Children and Women’s Bureau.
Meanwhile, opposition MP Rohini Wijeratne said on Monday unverified social media reports had suggested that there was pressure from the top to suspend investigations into the sex trafficking ring because of the involvement of a well-known Buddhist monk said to have close links to the establishment.
However, the monk in question lodged a complaint with the CID on Monday about a website operated from abroad that had made false allegations that he was the Buddhist monk arrested in connection with the incident. (Colombo/July13/2021)