Three Russians fined Rs.8.6 mn for bio-piracy
Nuwara Eliya Magistrate G. G. P. Jayasinghe on Friday ordered a fine of Rs 8.6 million on three Russian nationals over bio-piracy after a lengthy trial that lasted two years.
The three suspects, Ignatenko Alexander, Ryabo Artem and Kilafyan Nikolai, had pleaded guilty to 102 charges in the case where they were charged with stealing hundreds of endangered animals and exotic plant samples from rainforests and sanctuaries.
Each of them was ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 2,885,000. The three Russians had collected 529 samples of lizards, scorpions, frogs, geckos, snails, spiders, reptiles and butterflies belonging to 23 endangered species and parts of flora from places such as the Horton Plains National Wildlife Park, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Habarana, Yala, Ginigathena, and Jaffna.
The suspects had put the animals in special containers, and those had been seized while hidden in a place of tourist accommodation in Nuwara Eliya. They were taken into custody on February 26, 2020 by officials of the Horton Plains National Wildlife Park and subsequently legal actions were filed against the Russians at the Nuwara Eliya Court.
The Wildlife Department was represented by Wildlife Site Security Officer A. P. T. K. Jayawardena.
Horton Plains National Wildlife Park Warden P. M. P. K. Pradeep Kumara said that in the history of the wildlife department this was the highest fine imposed and the case with the greatest number of charges.The then Deputy Warden of the Horton Plains Park T. P. Dayaratne, Assistant Wildlife Site Officer P. M. P. Panawalage, Wildlife Regulator K. G. Priyadharshana, Field Assistant H. G. T. Udaya Kumara, and Driver S. Chandralal had carried out this raid.