By Rathindra Kuruwita
Those operating pyramid schemes often target particular geographical locations where the financial literacy of the people is low, police spokesman, SSP Nihal Thalduwa says.He said that the CID had recently busted a pyramid scheme called Sports Chain, through which peolpe had been cheated out of Rs 15 billion, and arrested eight people.
“This scheme was carried out in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kurunegala, and then it spread to other areas. We are now investigating several other schemes that have started from Hambantota and they, too, have spread across the country. They start in peripheral areas, and once established, they spread to other parts of the country,” the Police Spokesman said.
SSP Thalduwa added that the schemers had also customised their operations to cater to various target groups.
“The same product is packaged differently for youth and the middle-aged. The schemers have become very shrewd,” he said.
The police spokesman went on to say that the Central Bank and law enforcement authorities have been educating the people about pyramid schemes.However, these are multiplying as internet penetration and the use of smart devices have increased in the past few years, the police spokesman said.
He added that pyramid schemes are nothing new in Sri Lanka. However, in the past, their scale was comparatively small.
“Before the internet, those involved in pyramid schemes had to work harder to find new dupes. They probably had to canvass personally. Now they can use social media and gather people who are gullible,” he said.
According to SSP Thalduwa, some pyramid schemes involve cryptocurrencies. Most people do not understand what cryptocurrencies are, and there are so many of these digital currencies, he said.
“As the name suggests, the number of people at the top of the pyramid is small, and they probably end up making money. But the number of people increases as we go to the bottom, and these people always end up losing money. This also ends up affecting the economy because people become paranoid. For an economy to function, there should be an element of trust. Once this goes, things get bad really fast,” he said.
SSP Thalduwa said that there are a few internationally accepted platforms to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Often, those who manage pyramid schemes based on cryptocurrencies build trust among those who have invested by initially investing in these internationally accepted platforms.
“After a month or so, when some trust is established, these schemers migrate the investors to bogus platforms. Then they convince the investors that they are making about 100,000 rupees a day by trading cryptocurrencies. Recently, we arrested eight people, involved in a scheme called “SPORTS CHAIN.” This is how the Sports Chain schemers operated as well. There are many schemes,” he said.
SSP Thalduwa said the Banking Act bans pyramid schemes, and everyone involved in these schemes is guilty. The Central Bank can investigate these schemes, and if they identify such a scheme, the CBSL can direct the police to take action.
“When we get a complaint from people about suspected pyramid schemes, we ask the Central Bank to look into it and determine if this indeed is a pyramid scheme,” he said.
The police spokesman said that often those who run the pyramid schemes do it from outside the country, and the victims’ money has been taken to other countries.
“Then recovering the money becomes complicated. The government has to spend a lot of time and money on the recovery process,” he said.
President orders probe into judge’s resignation
By Saman Indrajith
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is currently in Berlin, yesterday ordered his Secretary Saman Ekanayake to launch a probe into the resignation of Mullaitivu District Judge and Magistrate, T. Saravanarajah, who heard the controversial Kurundimale temple case. The judge has cited receiving death threats as the reason for his resignation.
Judge Saravanarajah had not informed either the police or the Judicial Service Commission of the alleged death threats to him, sources said.
In a letter dated 23 September, 2023, addressed to the Judicial Services Commission, Judge T. Saravanarajah conveyed his decision to step down from various judicial roles including District Judge, Magistrate, Family Court Judge,
Primary Court Judge, Small Claims Court Judge, and Juvenile Court Judge.President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake held discussions on the judge’s resignation with Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles. It was revealed that the judge had not lodged any formal complaint of the alleged death threats prior to his resignation.
China pledges steadfast support to Sri Lanka
China will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in pursuing a development path that suits its own national conditions, getting rid of the “poverty trap” and the “trap of non-development”, and safeguarding its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity, Ambassador Qi Zhenhong said at the 74th National Day Reception of the People’s Republic of China on Thursday.
Given below are excerpts of the Chinese Ambassador’s speech: “Right now, changes of the world, of our times and of history are unfolding in ways like never before, which leads to rapidly growing uncertainty, instability and unpredictability.
In view of these global challenges, President Xi Jinping has put forward three crucial global initiatives, namely the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative. We urge all countries to respect each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, and work together to meet the challenges of our times and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
“This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping. Over the past 10 years under the BRI cooperation, more than 150 countries, including Sri Lanka, and 32 international organizations, have made great progress in connectivity, infrastructure, trade, and investment, with about 3,100 joint projects bringing tangible benefits to the world. As the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, I am more than happy to highlight the major projects between our two countries, such as the Katunayake Expressway, the Southern Expressway, the CICT, the Hambantota Port and the Port City Colombo, etc.
“No matter how the world changes, China and Sri Lanka are good neighbours with mutual respect and trust, good partners with mutual benefit, and good friends who help each other. China’s friendly policy towards Sri Lanka is for all political parties and all people of Sri Lanka and maintains continuity and stability. In the past decades, many landmarks, such as the BMICH, the Supreme Court Complex, the Nelum Pokuna Theatre, the Polonnaruwa Kidney Disease Hospital and the National Hospital Out-Patient Department Building, have been gifted by the Chinese people to the Sri Lankan people.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, especially when Sri Lanka was faced with the economic challenges last year, China has been supporting Sri Lanka to the best of its ability. It includes not only providing emergency assistance from all walks of life in China, but also being the first to reach out to Sri Lanka to properly deal with its debt issues.
More importantly, China will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in pursuing a development path that suits its own national conditions, getting rid of the “poverty trap” and the “trap of non-development”, and safeguarding its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity.”
Justice Minister sees police, judiciary and lawyers coming short on ensuring justice for all
The way the police, judiciary and lawyers operate had left much to be desired in ensuring justice for all, Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said at the National Law Week – 2023 celebrations yesterday.
Dr. Rajapakshe said that in a country with the rule of law, all citizens felt they had access to justice. The Minister said that the country faced a severe economic crisis in 2022. The breakdown of the rule of law was a major reason for the economic crisis, the Justice Minister said.
Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya said at the same event that people needed to understand the roles and functions of the judiciary, police, mediation boards and other institutions of justice in order to obtain a satisfactory service.
“These institutions are there to ensure everyone has equal access to justice. If these institutions were not there, the rich and the powerful would always get their way,” the CJ said.
Scott Hall, Trump ally indicted in Georgia election case, pleads guilty
75mm of rain expected in Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces and in Galle, Matara and Puttalam districts
President orders probe into judge’s resignation
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
#Sundayisland Sunday Island- 31 January- Headlines
Features6 days ago
PAMANKADE -THE TOWN THAT VANISHED !
News6 days ago
Business focus shifting in a more favorable direction
Business6 days ago
SLT-DIGITAL Services and Surge Global forge strategic partnership to propel growth marketing and develop enterprise software solutions
News6 days ago
No new date yet for AL exam, postponement to have knock on effect
News5 days ago
US delaying visa for Security Oversight Committee head
Business6 days ago
Nirmal Saverimuttu Chief Executive Officer Virgin Voyages
News6 days ago
Expect more Easter Sunday type attacks: minister
Editorial5 days ago
C4, Grease Yaka and Trojan horse