Following an “attempted rape” of a 23-year old Swedish tourist in Negombo, further details of rape and sexual harassment of foreign tourists in Sri Lanka in the last few months have been revealed by the Sunday Times.
According to an eyewitness, during the murder of 32-year old British tourist, Shaikah Zaman, his Russian girlfriend was also raped, with the eyewitness commenting the attackers,
"stripped and raped her mercilessly although she was bleeding from her head. Later I saw Zaman [British tourist] lying on the lawn next to the restaurant but did not know whether he was dead or alive.”
Just 2 weeks earlier, two Italian tourists in Negombo were also assaulted as they walked towards their hotel. Meanwhile in Mihintale last month, local men had sexually assaulted and attempted to drag a New Zealander woman into a public toilet, while her husband was away.
Also within the last 2 months, a South African national was raped in a hotel room, by a room boy in Kalptiiya. No arrests have been made concerning the case so far.
Tourist Police Director SSP Ranjth Padmasiri attempted to place the blame on the lack of staff, commenting,
“One of our main problems is that we do not have enough personnel to deploy at tourist haunts and only handle direct complaints.”
However, the problem lies much deeper, with a Tourist Police Officer himself standing accused of raping a local 28-year old mother of two, after she was arrested by the police force.