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Colombo Beggars On A Hit List

Jul 3, 2010 2:36:38 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Man in wheelchair, Havelock Road

  • Police Say Unrelated, But Killers Are Unrelenting
  • Eight Killed In Recent Months From Maradana To Mount Lavinia

By Roel Raymond and Indi Samarajiva

Beggar murders in the greater Colombo area have continued unabated with the eighth such killing reported on Tuesday in Mount Lavinia. OIC Crimes of the Slave Island Police Station, IP Prasanna Ariyasinghe, who together with a team of officers from the Wellawatte Police Station is investigating the spate of murders, confirmed the number of killings to The Sunday Leader. He said that thus far two murders were reported from Colpetty, two from Slave Island, one from Maradana, one from Kotahena, one from Wellawatte and the last one, on Tuesday, in Mount Lavinia.

The reported murders began roughly two months ago and bear similar hallmarks. Consistent to each case are the facts that the victims were disabled and lived on the streets. The victims died of head injuries inflicted, according to police, from a stone or a blunt object. All of the victims were also reportedly robbed of their meagre cash.

SI Sugathapala, Crimes OIC of the Mount Lavinia Police confirmed that a sweep-ticket seller was found dead on Tuesday, June 29. He confirmed the man’s head had been bashed by a stone that was found close by. SI Sugathapala said, however, that the man was not a beggarr, saying that it was possible that the murderer(s) had assumed him to be a beggar as he used a wheelchair and slept in a garage, close to Union Assurance.

Crimes OIC of the Maradana Police, IP Francis also confirmed to The Sunday Leader that the body of a murdered beggar had been found with severe injuries to the head. He said, however, that they had been unable to make any arrests. Similar cases were reported in Kotahena and Wellawatte.

In one lead, IP Ariyasinghe said that a cap had been found in the vicinity of the Gangarama murder and its owner identified. The Slave Island Police had deployed several men to find the man, who was a ‘streetwalker’, but have been unable yet to locate him. In another lead, a beggar woman in Colpetty had been attacked earlier this week, but had survived the blow given to her and reported that two men had attacked her.

IP Ariyasinghe told The Sunday Leader that the killings were definitely not that of a serial killer, nor the work of a gang. He said that preliminary investigations into the spate of murders had proved that the murders were unconnected. He further said that investigations conducted by police had found the culprits to be ‘streetwalkers’, who were not beggars but worked the streets, bullying and extorting money from hapless beggars. Investigations into the spate of murders are on-going.