Posted on March 15th, 2010

By Stanley Perera

My dear Mr. Abeykone,

A Sri Lankan living in Italy in the past 25 years arrived at Katunayake Air Port by UL563 on 06.03.2007 at 0500. W.M.Luxman Cyril Wickremaratne was the first passenger to arrive at the immigration counter. The immigration officer at the first glance at the passport said that there is no departure stamp and needs to be referred to the CID. Mr. Wickremaratne replied and said that the seal is there and asked for the passport back to show the departure stamp that was with the date 15-Oct-2007 with the seal number 200. The officer refused to return the passport and detained Mr.Wickremaratne for further investigation. Mr.Wickremearatne realised that it is a bogus charge and the harassment to extract money from him. He was determined not to offer any money what so ever as the officerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s claim was a bogus one.

Four hours later Mr.WickremaratneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s wife and daughter intervened when Luxman said to them in presence of the officer that these fellows are trying to extract money from him. The officer was upset and immediately stamped the passport and released Luxman warning him that he will be faced with problems at the next departure. Arrival stamp 06-March2007 with the seal number 079. The arrival stamp is placed under the departure seal dated 15-Oct-2007 with the seal number 200.

The officer was drunk as a skunk. His breath was and intoxicated with alchohol. Was there any superior officers to check these drunken and corrupt officers?

Dear Mr. Abeykoon LuxmanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s case is only a drop in the ocean. Just imagine those poor uneducated house maids arriving at the air port who are unable to communicate with the fear of getting into trouble and wasting the time unnecessarily. Every passenger arriving at the airport wants to leave the airport as quickly as possible to be with their loved ones. If their hard earned I repeat the words ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-HARD EARNEDƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢money is robbed at the airport what kind of a welcome is this. If the first Sri Lankan to meet at the air port is a thief what sort of an impression is being formed about the the rest of the Sri Lankan? There may be so many others who are honest and if bad apple is found all the rest get the blame.



Yours Truly,

Stanley Perera.


  1. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    Dear Mr Perera
    In fairness to the Immigration officers at the Bandaranayake Airport counters, my experience has fortunately been trouble free and very good. In the past 30+ years I have been overseas, I have visited SriLanka many times, firstly with a SriLankan Passport and now with a foreign passport.
    I appreciate very much that, for the benefit of fellow travellers, you have taken the time to bring to the notice of the management, the conduct of one officer, and I quote you .. “There may be so many others who are honest and if one bad apple is found all the rest get the blame.” .. unquote.
    I hope I will not meet such a “bad apple” in the rest of my travels, as I know how tiring it is to travel by plane and I could just imagine how I would feel if not treated respectfully at any airport.
    I must also mention that on one occasion, I had only a one way entry on my SriLankan passport, but the Immigration Officers, having understood the reason for the error, acted expeditiously and allowed me depart, under an Emergency Passport.
    So thank you Immigration and thank you Mr Perera.

  2. cassandra Says:

    Firstly, I imagine that the writer intended the date of arrival to read 06.3.2010 and not 06.03.2007.

    The allegations are serious and warrant investigation and I expect the Director of Immigration and Emigration (or whoever is the responsible official in this case) will duly do so. I don’t think the head of the department involved will want something as serious as this to go unchecked because it reflects on the department’s good name and needs to be properly addressed. I don’t believe any departmental head will wish to have any officer as ‘drunk as a skunk’ as has been alleged in this case.

    I am sorry to hear that Mr Wickremaratne has had such a bad experiece. My own experience with the officers at the Katunayake airport, over many years, has been very different. I have met officers at other airports outside Sri Lanka who have been more welcoming and charming and cheerful. But to be fair to the officers at the Katunayake airport, not one officer there has ever been nasty or discourteous towards me. The last time I was at the Katunayake airport was in December last year and I recall that the officer at the desk who checked my passport on my arrival was quite cordial.

  3. kingsley Says:

    to be honeset I have seen such a malpractice at Katunayaka airport few years back, that time it was a young man was in front of me to get the immigration clear. The duty officer checked his passport and said “you have a problem here, you wait” and kept him aside the counter allowing others to leave first. I met this fellow at the waiting hall at the second floor and I couldn’t help not to ask what happened?. he said it was his first time going abroad and officer demanded some money if he want to leave SL saying his visa was not genuine. If his visa was not genuine why the hell he was released? Some people argue for their rights, but weak they don’t. Hope situation will improve in SL in the future.
    We all know thousands of SL people overstay abroad and back home without any problem. How? I ask someone who was in CID (ex airport CID now living overseas) before, he told me that even male can go with a female passport by giving 100 US$ note with the passport. They do not ask anything and stamp your passport instantly. it was so funny to hear from him there are two ways to stamp, one as normal that you can see the date and officers ID number clearly, if they take money they just brush your passport with the seal so that you read no date or officer ID. We are a smart nation aren’t we?

  4. Sita Perera Says:

    Stanley, you have revolutionized the modern day journalistic writing with the witty and humorous way to put forward your point of view. Thank you Sir.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress