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Whisky racket in Colombo port exposed

A chance check on a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of Ports and Aviation at an exit/entry point of the Colombo Port on Thursday (September 24) revealed a major racket in selling duty free liquor in the open market.

Well informed sources told The Island that the Customs had detained one person with three dozen bottles of duty-free liquor while two others escaped. Sources said that the suspect had been released after recording his statement though the vehicle remained in the custody of the Customs. 

Sources said that two duty free shops set up at the Colombo Port exclusively to serve foreign ship crews as well as local crews serving on ships operating between Colombo and KKS had been closed down pending an inquiry.

The suspect had claimed that the bottles of liquor had been left behind by the persons, who fled when the Customs officers stopped the vehicle. Sources said that the suspect had insisted that he only gave them a lift though they were strangers. Sources said that this could not be true as there was a directive that no strangers should be taken in vehicles within the port premises.

Responding to our queries, sources said that the racket could have been going on for some time. There could have been several parties benefited by this racket, sources said adding that a thorough investigation would reveal the complicity of many.

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