Business Times

GK protestors released on bail

Hunger strike ends abruptly

Seven depositors of the now defunct Golden Key Credit Card Company including Anusha Emmert, President of the Golden Key Depositors' Association who were arrested on Thursday evening while carrying out a protest with other members of the association outside the Colombo residence of former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala, were released on personal bail of Rs. 25,000 each on Friday morning, by Mount Lavinia Additional Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatte.

Immediately after that Ms Emmert said they launched a complaint at the Humans Rights Commission saying the arrest was a breach of their rights. Ms Emmert and other protestors were demanding that Kotelawala be held accountable and rescue thousands of depositors who are yet to have their dues fully settled. Depositors said police arrived at 6.30 pm and wanted the protest called off, after which an argument ensued between the officers and Emmert.

She was then forced into a jeep and taken away and the other protesters numbering about 30-40 were dispersed after that, ending the planned hunger strike. Ms Emmert told Business Times that the police assaultedher and several other depositors severely ad pushed them into the police van along with her small child.

She said that they were holding a peaceful protest demanding Kotelawala to find some redress for aggreived depositors as they are struggling to surview without any income. Most of these depositors depended on the GK interest income, she said. Police said they arrested seven Ceylinco depositors for laying siege to the residence of Kotelawala and preventing the inmates from leaving the premises. Their action was an offence under an ‘unlawful assembly’, a senior police official said.

Thousands of depositors of Golden Key and some other finance companies lost most of their money in the crisis at finance companies two years back, which was precipitated by the crash at Golden Key, a Ceylinco Group company.

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