Group of Slovakians fined Rs. 18 million

Published : 9:09 am  February 15, 2019 | No comments so far |  | 


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Collecting fauna and flora specimens from Sinharaja forest reserve   



By Ajithlal Shantha Udaya   

A group of Slovakian citizens who pleaded guilty of entering the world heritage Sinharaja forest reserve and collecting fauna and flora specimens were sentenced to three month rigorous imprisonment suspended for ten years and fined Rs. 18 million by Kalawana Magistrate Dilan Weerawardene. 
The suspects Michal Nachar (66) Edward Secandsky (58) Michala Rechater (39) Ivan Rechter (54) and Radoslaw Kopecky(44) had been on remand since January 02 and they were produced in court yesterday by the prison officers.   
Kalawana Range Forest Officer Laxman Ratnaweera told court that the suspects had committed an offence punishable under the Fauna and Flora Ordinance and the Forest Conservation Ordinance and that they would be charged on 37 counts. He submitted that the suspects were preparing to smuggle into their country the specimens of 771 species butterflies and other insects and several plants collected from the Sinharaja forest reserve. He stated that the suspects belonged to an organised group carrying on the contraband trade of smuggling animal and plant specimens.   
Thirty seven case productions including the drone cameras, night vision cameras, binoculars, cellular phones, and laptops used by the suspects were confiscated by the magistrate. However, the magistrate who upheld the request of one of the suspects and released his camera which he claimed was a gift from his father.   
A team of forest officers under Kalawana Range Forest Officer Laxman Ratnaweera had carried out the raid.