The Straits Times
Published on Nov 23, 2012

Sri Lanka fines Russian couple for holding exotic orchids


COLOMBO (AFP) - A Sri Lankan court on Friday fined a Russian couple around 1.2 million rupees (S$11,250) for illegally collecting endangered orchids and other exotic flora, obstructing wildlife officials and attacking a cameraman.

A magistrate at Ratnapura, just outside the highly protected Sinharaja rainforest region, found the couple guilty of holding 345 exotic plants representing 32 species on an endangered list.

"They were fined 1.19 million for the plants and 20,000 rupees for obstructing a wild life official by biting his hand and resisting arrest," said a court official in Ratnapura, 100 km south-east of Colombo.

They were also asked to pay another 20,000 rupees to a local journalist from the Lankadeepa newspaper for damaging his camera outside the court house.