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'Local politicians behind increase in tourist attacks' - Sunday Times

Sri Lanka’s Sunday Times has reported increased incidents of sexual harassment and other attacks on tourists.

The paper reported that police sources said local politicians are behind the attacks.

See excerpts below:

“Police are recording frequent complaints of sexual harassment of tourists in the South, with the latest report of sexual harassment of an Israeli female tourist by a local. On Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s day, a 32-year-old Israeli tourist was sexually harassed while on the beach, when her husband had gone to the nearby beach resort in Mirissa, where they were staying.

“According to police, a local man had inappropriately touched her and pinched her buttocks. The woman had shouted and later lodged a complaint at the Weligama police. Earlier this month, a group of three men in a van had snatched the bag of a 38-year-old Czech tourist who was holidaying in Weligama with his girlfriend.

"In Mirissa, A group of tourists staying in two hotel rooms, were robbed of ipads, laptops, cameras and cash to the value of Rs. 3.5 million, while they were on the beach. In another hotel room in Mirissa, a 32-year-old Italian policewoman was robbed of her ipad, 200 euros and travel documents while she was asleep.

“In a more serious vein, a hotel employee attempted to rape a 35-year-old female tourist while she was asleep in her room, in this area.

“Meanwhile, police sources said most of the robberies are taking place with the support of certain local politicians from the area.”