Director of Communications at Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Miuvan confirmed to local media Mihaaru that three Maldivians were arrested by Sri Lankan authorities on Saturday night over usage of cigarettes that were illegally smuggled into Lanka.
However, all three were promptly released after questioning.
According to the Customs regulations of Sri Lanka, it is illegal to import cigarettes into the country via passenger luggage(s).
Despite this, contraband cigarettes are often brought into Lanka from capital Male’, sometimes even in cartons.
If caught by Sri Lankan authority while smuggling in cigarettes, the individual must pay a fine of LKR 6,000 (MVR 522) per carton.
According to Maldivians living in Sri Lanka, in the aftermath of recent Easter Sunday Bombings, Srilankan police were inspecting restaurants frequented by Maldivians, seeking to find those in possession of such illegal items.
Miuvan further advised Maldivians to fully comply with the rules and regulations of Sri Lanka, as many have been arrested after the terror attacks.
“I call for all Maldivians living in Lanka to follow their laws and regulations, especially due to the current situation”, he said.
Over 10,000 Maldivians reside in Sri Lanka for educational, medical and other purposes, in addition to visitors frequenting weekly.