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Sep-19-2012 20:45printcomments

Kappang A9 Highway and Kappang Flyway of Sri Lanka

Tamils going through Katunayake International airport are targeted.

Sri Lanka Corruption

(COLOMBO Sri Lanka Guardian) - The government’s big banging road development projects in the north is becoming money minting machinery for the police/army patrols and check-points. Vehicles are stopped with the intent of demanding kappang (bribe) from the drivers on ludicrous charges of violation of road rules. The drivers are becoming used to the menacing invasions of the uniformed street stalkers and dishing out from Rs100 to Rs1,000 to escape unwanted harassment.

A regular traveller on the A9 road to Jaffna said beyond Vavuniya, it is big business as private vehicles plying to and from Jaffna are randomly stopped by the predators to prey on them. Those who pay straight away are allowed to proceed and there is seldom any confrontation faced.

In another intriguing development Sri Lankan passport holding Tamils going through Katunayake International airport are targeted and kappangs are said to be demanded by the immigration officers. Incidences of Kappang taking is mostly practiced on the exit journey from the airport. All kinds of questions are being asked from the vulnerable travellers to intimidate them to pay bribe.

In one incident, a Tamil lady on her return journey from Jaffna to Norway was asked to produce her national identity card in addition to the passport. The lady could not communicate in English or Singhala languages and was taken to aside and was told that she would not be able to proceed further and will be handed over to the police. Realising something is going, she opened her hand bag and pulled out the Rs2,500 remaining in her hand bag and handed over to the Immigration Officer. He took the amount with the smirking smile and gave her the clearance to proceed.

In another incident, a Tamil man from France was targeted. The immigration officer after flicking through the passport pages said some pages are missing. The traveller was astonished as he was not aware of any breaches. He went through the pages and confirmed that all the pages are intact. He was taken to a side by the official and bluntly told that the traveller did not slot some currencies (missing pages) in the passport. Realising the claim of missing pages of the officer the traveller placed few Euro notes between the passport pages and he was given the exit stamp without further questioning.

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