Saturday, August 1, 2009

Human smuggling racket: Gold medallist gets two-year term

Susitha R. Fernando -DM

The Fort Magistrate yesterday imposed a two-year imprisonment term suspended for ten years and a fine of Rs. 200,000 on gold medal winning national athlete H. D. Waruna Ranga Kumara Wimalawansa when he pleaded guilty for the involvement in a human smuggling racket.
Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya imposed a six-month rigorous imprisonment term if Wimalawansa defaulted in the payment of the said fine.
Pleading in mitigation the counsel for the suspect informed Court that a lenient sentence be imposed considering that he was in remand for 11 months in connection with this incident and that he had served the country as a sporting representative and was a national treasure.
The suspect Ranga Wimalawansa was a member of the Asian Championship winning 400 x 4 relay team in the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 respectively and was charged under Immigration and Emigration Act for facilitating persons to leave Sri Lanka by using forged passports.
Together with Wimalawansa another suspect in the same incident, Mohamed Mukthar Mohamed Faizer was produced in Court.
Upon production Faizer pleaded guilty for preparing forged visas imprinted in the passport while Ranga Wimalawansa pleaded not guilty.
The investigation commenced following a complaint made to the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) by A. M. Sampath Abeysinghe, a businessman whose wife was a UK resident.
According to the complaint, Abeysinghe had gone to the British High Commission to apply for a visa and was rejected. Whilst he was returning he had met a trishaw driver by the name of K. B. Don Susantha.
He had promised to help him get a UK visa. He had been later taken to Mr. Ranga Wimalawansa who had allegedly charged Rs. One million from Sampath Abeysinghe promising that he would be provided with travel documents to enter the United Kingdom.
In a separate case Wimalawansa, the Police constable attached to the PSD, S. A. Nihal Jayantha and the trishaw driver K. B. Don Susantha were also indicted in the Colombo High Court for extorting a sum of Rs. 600,000 under intimidation from A. M. Sampath Abeysinghe threatening him and causing injuries on August 8, 2008.
This case is to be taken up on September 23.

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