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US travelers asked to take normal precautions when they visit Sri Lanka

The United States Department of State Travel Advisory has cautioned American travelers to take normal precautions when they visit Sri Lanka


The American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS)says it cannot recommend a particular individual or location, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided in the island nation,

There was a moderate risk from crime in Colombo. Official 2018 crime statistics indicate an upward trend for serious crime in the country overall.

This differs from previous years, during which crime rates trended downward. Property crimes increased in areas frequented by tourists. In Colombo, total crime reported increased in all areas. Most violent crime occurs within the local community. Us authorities claimed.

The majority of crimes against U.S. citizens continue to be petty crime (pickpocketing, hotel room thefts, and fraud). In 2015 and 2017, U.S. citizens residing in Colombo were reported as victims of home-invasion robbery attempts.

Authorities charged and convicted suspects in both cases, which appear to have been crimes of opportunity.

There have been reports of thefts from many large hotels. Lock doors and windows while in hotels, lodges, or guest houses.

Street hustlers are common around popular hotels, shopping areas, and other tourist sites. Beware of tuk-tuk or taxi drivers offering “special” tours or access to festivals or gem shops.

This common scam often results in tourists being heavily pressured to buy “gems” that are either cut glass or are worth much less than the price being asked. The U.S. Embassy has also warned female travelers of instances of sexual harassment by tuk-tuk drivers, the US State Travel Advisory revealed.

There appeared to be an increase in organized criminal activity in 2018. Police reported several incidents of gang-on-gang murders and violent attacks, and drug-related crime is a growing concern. Drug-related offenses increased 49% in 2018.

Visitors are encouraged to use cash for routine transactions when possible. Credit/debit card fraud is a persistent threat.

Authorities have arrested several foreign nationals and organized groups for complicity in financial crimes. Avoid using credit cards, especially if it involves the removal of the card from people’s view.

There have been reports of employees at reputable businesses (e.g. restaurants, chain grocery stores) wearing data skimming devices in their clothing and scanning a victim’s credit card or using other methods to steal credit card information. ATM skimming is also a threat, US State Travel Advisory said.

(LI NEWS)

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