Foreign undergrads nabbed with rare insects

By Shelton Hettiaratchi

The Nuwara Eliya Magistrate Saman P. Kariyawasam fined a Czech national Rs. 125,000 on a charge of gathering rare species of insects unique to Sri Lanka from the Horton Plains sanctuary, which is a World Heritage site.

The offender, Jan Pyrith, an undergraduate from the Czech Republic University, pleaded guilty to the charge. According to park officials, the Czech student had entered the national sanctuary on the afternoon of August 23 and had caught three varieties of rare insects.

The student was accompanied by a fellow undergrad. Both were remanded and produced before the Nuwara Eliya Magistrate on Aug ust 25. Deputy Park Warden Manoj Vidyarathne requested Co urt to discharge the accused, as he had admitted to committing an offence.

The Magistrate ordered a jail sentence of three months if the offender failed to pay the fine. The defendant’s associate was discharged. The two students arrived in the country on August 13 and had toured Matugama and Yala before coming to Horton Plains.

Police also found rare varieties of plant in defendant’s possession. These items were handed over to the park on a court order. Range officers S. Premakumara, Sarath Kukar, Chandrasena and Jayaratahne gave evidence.

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