Over 100 mobile phones recovered islandwide from prisonersBy Damith WickremasekaraView(s):
More than 100 mobile phones were recovered this week from raids carried out by prison authorities in Vavuniya, Anuradhapura, Galle, Colombo and Negombo prisons, Prison Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera told the Sunday Times yesterday.
He said that, among the phones recovered, one was a satellite phone and four 3G phones.
“We were surprised at the number of phones found inside the prisons and as to how these phones were smuggled in, despite the presence of prison officials,” he said.
Mr. Gajadeera said he believed prison officials helped smuggle the phones into the jails, for payment. “In some places, we found phones hidden in the walls, where the ‘hollows’ were covered over with soap,” he added.
He said that most of the phones were found in Vavuniya, with 54 phones and 34 SiM cards. “We have called the assistance of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) to help in the investigations, as we believe that the prisons in Vavuniya were being used as a base to pass information overseas, as well as to obtain money from overseas”, he added.
He said that more than 150 additional guards have been deployed to beef up security and gather intelligence from the Vavuniya prisons, while the existing intelligence unit within the prisons has been brought under the administration of his ministry. “We will also arrest the officials who helped the prisoners,” he added.
Meanwhile, a TID official told the Sunday Times that, according to investigations, LTTE suspects in custody have been exchanging information to coordinate overseas remittances for their families.
“We are investigating the contacts of these LTTE suspects through the data retrieved from the phones,” he added.
“We believe that the prisons had been used for their operations as they considered it safer than operating from outside,” he further added.
He also said that a separate investigation was under way to identify the officials involved.