Peliyagoda fish market incident:
Extortion racket smashed, 20 held
*Peliyagoda UC Dy Chairman among arrested
*IGP acts on Defence Secy’s instructions
A special police team raided the new fish market complex at
Peliyagoda on Tuesday night and arrested 20 members of an alleged
extortion gang including the Peliyagoda Urban Council Deputy Chairman
who was obstructing the smooth functioning of the facility by dictating
terms to fish vendors.
The special police team comprising officers from the Colombo Crime
Division, STF and several police stations supervised by DIG Anura
Senanayake was assigned by IGP Mahinda Balasuriya on the direction of
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. This follows complaints to the
Defence Secretary that extortionists and other organized gangs were
hindering the smooth functioning of the newly opened fish market complex
The IGP had directed the police team to arrest anyone trying to
obstruct work at the complex irrespective of their social or official
Investigations revealed that more than 500 lorry loads of fish arrive
at the complex daily for sale. This involves nearly 3,000 to 5,000 boxes
laden with fish.
The gangs charge Rs 25 per each box of fish and only Rs 3 per box is
paid to the Natamis unloading the fish.
The Peliyagoda Urban Council Deputy Chairman is also alleged to have
extorted Rs 500 from the owner of each plank on which fish is kept for
sale. Several other gangs had also been involved in this game of
Meanwhile, the leader of one extortion gang had encroached on a state
land adjoining the fish market complex and leased it out to outsiders
after partitioning it.
These gangs had sometimes clashed with each other causing
inconvenience to the vendors and the customers visiting the complex.
DIG Anura Senanayake said the Peliyagoda fish market complex is now
functioning smoothly as gangs which ruled the roost have been eliminated
and police protection and cover is pounded to the facility daily to
The Rs 25 per each box of fish which went to the pocket of extortion
gangs is now paid to the Natamis by the shop owners on the directions of
the Defence Secretary.