Colombo Telegraph

Is The Underworld Emerging & Active In Sri Lanka

By Sarath Wijesinghe

Sarath Wijesinghe

Organized Crime

5th Protocol on General Assembly in Bangkok describes this concept as ‘organized crime’ – in other words the underworld as ‘an enterprise of group of persons engaged and continue in illegal activities which is active and primary purpose of generating profits irrespective of its boundaries.’ This shows that it has no boundaries and limitations. Profiteering process may be different but income may be enormous. In the present trend of most developed IT and connected technology where information transmits in seconds worldwide with a press of a button, organized international crime thrives globally with the help of soft targets such as Sri Lanka where the legal and combat of crime process is in the primitive and developing stages. It is learnt that Sri Lanka is a main Hub of Drugs and connected illegal transactions with the weak and inactive Police and State Security System including lack of advanced intelligent service. There was an indirect ‘sea blockade’ with measures to combat piracy which is now in a mess due to conflicts on legal and political issues. In Israel public Security and Safety of the country will not be compromised at any cost under any situation. Israel USA and USSR the motto is ‘Security Priority’ not necessarily the case in Sri Lanka. Israel helped us to win the war and pledged to extend continued support to improve our public security. International and local underworld has unlimited resources and patronage from politically and economically powerful personalities and organizations local and worldwide. It travels beyond boundaries and interconnected via the global network of organized crimes connected to smuggle of drugs, liquor, illicit goods and consignments of varied illegal items with enormous profits, weapon smuggling, shipments and illegal consignments, sex clubs, beach boys, prostitution, are main acres and sources of the network of underworld. Sometimes this is done with sophisticated and respected face frontages with politicians and rich who needs the underworld for their existence. Underworld gangs have no politics. They change colors overnight and the customers too need the job done with less complications. Even in the recent largest customs detection ever is backed by underworld guaranteed the protection of the culprits. Payment varies from maximum to minimum. news is disturbing on the mode and the amounts demanded for crimes including killings for money. Media is responsible for bad reporting and it is time the Press Council looks into the matter carefully in monitoring and guiding the media to be more responsible.

Underworld worldwide

Underworld is common to many countries in the present world order. Leading countries such as USSR, USA, China and India too are victims of this mass and organized and syndicated international crime gang. It is rampant and common to many members of the global family looking for answers for this menace. Mexico, Texas and many Latin American countries are finding difficult to clamp it due to excessive funds on drugs cannabis and trafficking of drugs and human beings worldwide- mainly to Europe. Latin American countries such as Brazil and the Eastern Europe are the recent victims. Drug Trade trickles down from the highest to the lowest level spreading worldwide. A Saudi Prince was found with two tons of heroin in his private jet when an ordinary mother in the village are selling small portions as a part of the organized network of the drug barons who are ballooners with protection from the politicians and powerful irrespective of which government in power. Now there is a dangerous trend of fast increase of Drug, Crime and other major offences countrywide. This is a dangerous trend. The system of control and clamping down appears to be slow and ineffective under Good Governance as the control is slow with the complicated procedures. How effective the Defense Secretary IGP and the Armed forces are matters for the citizens to decide. Police have become soft targets before the protester’s citizen by the public and the powerful ministers in governance. Polite invading the police stations forcibly taking suspects away from helpless police officers who are stoned by the public and students. The irony is when underworld is legalized by local politicians turned ‘thugs’ and protectors of the politicians as guards with traditional white “Kaatta suite” mobile in hand becoming a threat to the pedestrians and the commuters compelled to give way to the long line of vehicles.


Underworld in Sri Lanka

“Karate Wasantha’s” incident in the historic town of Anuradhapura is one of the many incidents taken place from small and larger scales undetected and uncontrolled. It is understood the victim in no angel and but the incident is a part of gang rivalry that is happening often in the country despite the presence of a large Police Force. Walking out of a bank with few millions have become a common occurrence. This incident is a “Ninja Style Operation” well planned and organized. Police appear to be helpless in many incidents on mass and small scale crimes. They appear to be busy with Bribery Commission, and famous ECID the special Police Unit and connected matters. ‘Kotaketha’ serial killer is still at large. It appears that the underworld has taken for granted the security and taken the law unto their hands free from obstructions. Wasantha was cut brutally assaulted by a group of thugs and killed, the Club was brought to ground, employees were attacked in few seconds as shown in the video footages. Other news in equally disturbing. Bank Robberies, Exhortations, Demands of Ransom is common and rampant is all scales with the feeling that there is no control at all on crime and crime detection. We hear many speeches from the President and the line Ministers and below on various topics including floods of crime which is the burning issue of the citizen demanding peace and a peaceful life, after relived of the terror regime that engulfed over thirty years. Despite the economic downfall due to slashing the prices of Rubber, Coconut, Tea and Paddy citizen expect peace and harmony free from crime with safety to their lives and property. Major events have trickled down to the entire country in different ways threatening and fearing the peaceful and peace loving citizens. Polite is safe and protected with Pistols and Body Guards. the newly elected MP’s too have made a request for more advanced Pistols in place of revolvers given to the body guards to seek protection from the citizens. Is there an effective and good governance is the question raised by the ordinary masses on the road facing ‘road rages’, when the road traffic system is in a terrible state with unruly 1,0000 Three Wheel Drivers and unruly Bus Delivers who has full control of the road pushing the ordinary traffic away terrorizing the road belongs to the public. They too are a part of the organized gang affecting the peace and peaceful living ordinary citizen.

Crime is an offence against the Society

Crime is considered an offence against the society. It is the community that is hurt and effected when laws are breeched and crime is committed. During the war mother and father travelled in two modes not expecting to come alive at the end of the day safe as there was sudden death all over. Nation lived in fear of death during the war. Today it has come to the same as commuters and ordinary citizen is faced with anarchy and sense of insecurity without an effective Governance and a system of organized control of the crime regime. Police operates only after the crime is committed and there is no organized crime prevention process in Sri Lanka.

Nobody is a Born Criminal

Nobody is born criminal. Criminal procedure is learned behavior due to acquired criminal tendencies owing to number of sociological feathers which influences the child during the formative years. Parents Teachers, Clergy, Teachers, Community Leaders can play an important role in the process. IT literary is a double edged sward that is an essential ingredient to explore the world which has access to all unwanted data and images that has ruined the culture including villages and villagers, with free access to liquor and drugs with the blessings of the Polite. Situation is escalating fast with no control and checks and balances countrywide. It is not the time for lectures, it is time for rigid implementation of the legal system which is headed by a leading lawyer and academic who has authored number of books in the recent past on the connected subjects. It is time for him to show colors.

Organized crime in USSR USA and other countries

Organized crime was not significant in Sri Lanka until 1980 when free trade was introduced. USSR was affected after the introduction of ‘Perestrike’ with the invasion of mafia and underworld which is as powerful as the government. After the destabilization of USSR, the Eastern Europe is disintegrated resulting satellite of mafia in the Europe and Eastern Europe which has a ripple effect in Europe and the world in the kingdom of the underworld. Drug Trade, Human Trafficking, and underworld is more lucrative that the traditional Gold smuggling trade which is now replaced by the modern ways by the modern and sophisticated underworld.

Underworld leaders are short lived

Lives of leading underworld leaders are sudden and short lived. They lie in fear of the police and rivals on competition for leadership of the business. They have no existence without the political patronage of political parties in power in any government. ‘Wela Suda’ is serving the death sentence, ‘Imtiaz’ involved in 39 murders was murdered, Prince Colom responsible of number of murders was killed, ‘Thel Baala’ was shot dead, ‘Kumbulela Guna’ was killed,’ Olcotte’ was killed, ‘Vambotta’ was killed by a rival group, ‘Nawala Nihal’ was abducted and killed, ‘Modara Saman’ was killed, ‘Baddagana Sanjeeva’ was killed, ‘Kaduwela Wasantha’ was kiled, ‘Dhammika Amarasinghe’ and ‘Chinthaka Amarasinghe’ too were killed, ‘Sottie Upali’ was killed and ‘Gonawels Sunil’ was killed. These were some gang leaders who were killed by rival groups and not proceeded till convection as most have the political patronage and synonymous with many political leaders which is of common knowledge to the public. This is a sorry state of affairs but the reality. 40,000 soldiers freed to the society is the other volcano which is a byproduct and a catalyst of the underworld. They are trained solders in the frontline against the most ruthless terrorist organization who are now ruthless for a better and comfortable livelihood, who are behind major crimes. It is a good idea to employ them in security firms, and new projects concerning security which they are conversant with. Piracy project and employment in foreign countries in security connected mattes should have been encouraged and should be continued by the Ministry of Justice, Employment and the Ministry of Public Security. LTTE network fortunately not as active as before who are active in activism and fund raising campaigning in the International and Human rights arenas. It appears that many more current Suda’s and Gang leaders are emerging effortless in the current system.

What is the way out of the Crisis?

Way out is not easy difficult and complicated but possible. Main role is to be led by the politicians both government and opposition. There appear to be a dead silence on the part of the legal opposition in the Parliament busy with their traditional demands based on their political ideology. Citizen is confused on the mode of governance. Now that the Local elections are due the need of the underworld is on the top of the agenda for the politicians which the underworld is aware of. Underworld itself will most probably be the contestants at the local elections which is still serious. There should be a coconscious by the political parties not to involve underworld for the elections and not to seek favors political or otherwise from the them and organized gangs that cannot function without the political patronage. How practicable feasible possible to implement this is a difficult question to answer. Forces and Police are to be given controlled freedom with checks and balances. Punishments to the gangs should be severe and stringent legislations are to be implemented. It is useful to share the knowledge and experiences with other affected countries. Citizen participation and controlled media is essential. It is sad but true to notice that media is often irresponsible and over reactive in sensational matters. Leader and the leadership of the state should be effective with a forward and future vision. Media carries only the sensational news attractive to the public. In India the news on the death of the student raped and killed was given only sufficient and controlled publicity. In Saya’s issue the media was impatient and disturbed and destroyed the lives of an underage student. Seya and Jaffna incidents are not isolated. It appears that it is part serious incidents influenced by the irresponsible media, free availability of internet and connected matters. Frequent suicides of students, mass killings of family members, serial killings in some villages, treatment of parents to children and treatment to parents, are some of the byproducts and questionable areas in the modern society to be carefully scrutinized. Reforms in the Police, system of administration of the courts procedure to regain the confidence of the judges and legal system, if not eradication minimizing bribery and corruption which is rampant in the society, promotion of religious education, promotion of respect to elders and parents, Full curtailment of the messages given in tele drams, are things to be considered by the Minister of Justice, Buddha Sasana, Culture, Education and the Leaders of the State with enormous powers of implementation of the legislation of the legislature headed by an experienced leader of the Executive. It is a joint operation by the State, Opposition, Citizens groups, NGO’s and the Civil Society to take the responsibility to clamp down the rapid emergence of the underworld in Sri Lanka. Will harsh punishments or death penalty will be an answer is a matter to be looked into and answered which is the main topics for discussion. In Thailand it is death penalty for drugs. In many countries it is life. Death penalty in Sri Lanka which is not implemented since 1974. It is time we find an answer and a mode of implementation. We were successful in eradication of the most powerful and ruthless terrorist outfit that engulfed for thirty long years. What is required is proper leadership and a strategy to eradicate this menace. It is time to think if a similar strategy.

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