A leading tourist hotel in Mt. Lavinia, which had been occupied by a group of over hundred Chinese nationals who had enjoyed the services of its bar to date disregarding the government’s strict curfew regulations, was raided by the Excise Department officials last evening.
Excise Department’s flying squad Colombo Bureau of Special Operations (Excise BSO Colombo) on information had raided the well-known hotel on De Saram Road to find about 140 Chinese nationals were occupying the premises since January.
The sleuths found that the hotel’s bar was open and functioning well despite strict regulations by the government restricting sale of liquor during the pandemic period.
A senior Excise official who took part at the raid told the Daily Mirror that a number of Chinese nationals both male and female were consuming alcoholic beverages that were being freely issued by the bar.
Preliminary inquiries revealed that the local owners of the hotel had given it on lease to a Chinese software company in January and that about 140 of the Chinese employees had been lodging in the facility since then.
Although, the premises ceased to open to the public the previous local management was still running all the in house operations in the kitchen, housekeeping, cleaning and bar management. Except for Chefs from China who handled the kitchen operations, the rest of the work had been performed by a local staff.
The hotel bar consisted of both local and foreign liquor as well as Chinese specialty brands for its current guests. One Chinese national was reportedly selling cigarettes and was arrested with 45 cartons of fags of a Chinese brand.
The hotel bar had been sealed by the Excise officials and the Chinese management was asked to report with relevant documents and license on a later date.
OIC Excise BSO Chief Inspector P. N. Hemantha and the team conducted the raid on the instructions of Excise Commissioner General Ariyadasa Bodaragama.(Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana)