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Over 1,500 illegal tourists nabbed in Sri Lanka

03-20-2012 14:30 BJT

Sri Lankan authorities are cracking down on foreigners that overstay their visas with over 1, 500 visitors being detected within the first two months of 2012, an immigration official said on Monday.

Immigration and Emigration Department Commissioner W.A.C. Perera said that the numbers could touch 1,700 if the March detections were added on as well.

He noted that in 2011, around 3,000 foreigners whose visas had expired but were still remaining in the country were detected by the authorities.

Three weeks ago the Immigration and Emigration Department ran newspaper advertisements calling for public assistance in identifying and deporting foreigners that overstay their visas.

"We are going to continue efforts to apprehend foreigners that overstay their visas. This is a continuous process and it has been made easier with the arrival of the online visa system. Many of these foreigners are women and they are hidden by local people to further their own interests," he said.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana reiterated the claim stressing that most foreigners caught in this way were linked to illegal acts such as prostitution.

He insisted that the Police would continue to apprehend and deport foreigners remaining illegally in the country.

Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 27 percent to 83,549 in February from a year earlier, continuing the post-war growth momentum. In 2011 Sri Lanka's tourism industry grew 30.3 percent making it's the fastest growing market in the region.

Editor:Sun Luying |Source: Xinhua

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