Sri Lanka police arrest two for bribing life-size cutout
Posted on January 4th, 2019

Screen grab from social media video of man bribing life-size cardboard cutoutImage copyrightVAVUNIYA POLICE
Image captionThe man in this clip and his friend who filmed it have been released on bail

Sri Lankan police have arrested two people who posted a Facebook video showing one of them pretending to give a bribe to a traffic police cutout.

In the footage, a motorcyclist is seen offering money to the life-size figure of an officer with a speed gun in the northern town of Vavuniya.

The man in the video and his friend who filmed it have been released on bail.

They are charged with damaging public property, and humiliating and creating a bad public image of the police.

The cardboard cutout, which police say had its head damaged, is one of many which were placed on main roads last year to deter speeding and dangerous driving.

A few months ago, local police arrested two youths who had taken one home.

‘Satire, not crime’

Bribing traffic police to avoid formal fines and a long-drawn out process in court is common in Sri Lanka.

People have taken to social media to criticise the police action against the two men, said to be aged 23.

“The youth were sending a powerful message aimed at eliminating the bribery culture,” Twitter user Ameen Izzadeen told the BBC. “It’s satire, not a crime.”

Another social media user wrote: “This is not some joke. So many people are killed every year due to bad driving. There is so much the cops can do to enforce the law.”

Why is this controversial?

Transparency International, an anti-corruption NGO, told the BBC that it considers the police one of Sri Lanka’s most corrupt institutions.

“This issue is further evidenced by the lack of will to incorporate basic systems to combat petty bribery amongst traffic police,” said country head Asoka Obeysekara.

Last week police suspended two officers after a viral video showed them allegedly taking a bribe near the president’s office, which is also close to Sri Lanka’s police headquarters.

The country’s head of traffic police, Ajith Rohana, told the BBC last year they were taking measures to punish wrongdoers and urged the public to complain against such officers.

One Response to “Sri Lanka police arrest two for bribing life-size cutout”

  1. Nimal Says:

    This is the sad truth about the country, rotten to the core, needs the colonial types to put it right.Divide and rule is rampant where some are more equal than the others and some are above the law while the innocent majority have to pay the price and suffer. I have seen cops harassing the innocent people where I had to challenge the missuse of his powers by the HQI inspector on my driver.I have seen a cop in a motor bike giving a ticket to an innocent driver who was dropping a very sick patient at a clinic.
    Also close to Sudath Gunasekara’s house in a remote road going to Hantana my friend who parked the car in a very remote road where he had to walk down to the Kidney hospital a ticket was to be issued saying that the parking is restricted area or road but I could not see any signs of any restriction displayed and when I challenge the cop he quickly went away.
    The worse insult to justice and common-sense is during the Kandy perahara season where they body search the poor village pedestrians but not the people going past in buses,Tri shows and cars.I brought this to the notice of several DIGs but nothing happened. My guests who were from the police force in UK were suprised.After all we are people of 2600years of crap history until the colonials came to our rescue and put the country right.

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