The Sunday Leader

And… The White Vans Are Back!

A symbol of para military activity in Sri Lanka

A symbol of para military activity in Sri Lanka

By Munza Mushtaq

As we heaved a sigh of relief thinking the chilling white van menace was over, BOOM! It’s back… or so we thought, until Friday, when we were told that the Special Task Force (STF) appeared to have its own unique style of snatching people from the city of Colombo.

The alleged ‘abduction’ on Wednesday night sent chills down many in Colombo who assumed that the kidnapping was yet another ransom taking incident or was connected to the one time white van menace, which had fizzled out in recent times.

But an announcement by the police on Friday morning, has raised many an eyebrow even within the high ranking law enforcement unit, over the appalling style in which the STF conducted itself.

Police Spokesman SSP I. M. Karunaratne told The Sunday Leader that the group who went missing, comprising a businessman from Wattala, two of his workers and a police officer, was actually not ‘abducted’ as initially reported but was instead arrested by the STF.

“They were arrested after the STF got a tip off that this group were involved in several acts of ransom taking. They have been handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and now investigations are underway,” Karunaratne said.

When questioned as to how ethical the STF was when they arrested the four persons in such a manner, Karunaratne said as a police spokesman he was not sanctioned to give his ‘opinion’ but was only able to give details of the incident.

However, higher ups in the Police Department have expressed their anger over the STF ‘arrest’, highlighting that due to the STF conducting it self in such a devious manner, it is the Police Department which is in disrepute.

However, this is not the first time that such an ‘arrest’ happened in the country. A few months back a Tamil newspaper editor was arrested in similar style from  a funeral house.

Sudar Oli Editor N. Vithyatharan was violently abducted from a funeral house in Mount Lavinia on February 26 in broad daylight by a group of armed men who travelled in a white van in front of several people who had tried valiantly to prevent it.

But when the incident came to be known internationally and reaction intensified, the government rushed to say that Vithyatharan was not abducted but arrested and detained by the police for interrogation in connection with the February 20 air attack on Colombo by the LTTE.

Vithyatharan who was under surveillance for a long time, was later released on April 24 having been discharged by court, after the Colombo Criminal Division (CCD) in charge of the investigation, as well as other departments of the police and the military, admitted they had nothing whatsoever to incriminate the journalist.

13 Comments for “And… The White Vans Are Back!”

  1. LankaLiar

    Welcome back Whit Van. It is election time. We need many of them. We must create regiment in the army and call it the White Van regiment. This is the official vehicle of Sri Lanka. We can get a tourist package created as White Van Tours. This is the best defence apparatus of Sri Lanka.
    It should be headed by may a Van Marshal . Karuna a good candidate

  2. What has the President and the Govt got to say about this…Nothing new I guess…has been happening for so long ….guess the Govt and the ministers will not have the guts to even make a comment.
    Such is our Givt and leadership.
    See if there is a multi million dollar contract coming up and all the rogues and crooks will trip over each other when they stampede to get a bite of the ‘Jarahwa’or to put it mildly, part of the loot/ill gotten gains.
    Hora Poosah

    • janatha

      Thanks for the service done by white vans during the height of war. We were safe in the city of colombo due to the white van fear..Unless the city of colombo may have been shed with blood as late mr.Thamil Selvam warned(he said that they will make the city of Colombo a place where no one can live). We the general public did not have any problem as we had with numberplateless pajeros in 88/89..

  3. Nadaraja

    This may be the Fonseka’s gang who is at work going against the people who oppose Ranil and Somawanse on the leadhip issue.

  4. sandman

    It is incredible and amazing that still, NO WHITE VAN has ever been apprehended or stopped, even during the times of the strictest road blocks all over Colombo, specially. This speaks for itself and people are NOT fools. But the rural folk do not know or understand this, the powers to be know this very well. So they do not care what we city folks think or talk about. We dont matter really. And this mad circus would keep on going taking the whole country for one big ugly ride!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. MJLondon


  6. Ghouse-Dubai

    Wow!! While van is back. If Rajapakse government continue to thuggery politics like this then thier demise is inevitable. Mervin, white van, media assault, abductions, etc…

  7. Rohith

    At a recent Ranaviru meeting in a Colombo Hotel to garner support for the President, a retired General, during his address has said that he has a list of servicemen who oppose the Govt and that he can MIA them if he wants to.

    This statement is enough to put this ‘cardboard sando’ behind bars. But, one can bet his shoes that the Govt will look the other side.

    Perhaps, this is the white van man. It is said that a retired IGP who yhas aspirations to contest the General Elections under the UPFA flag and some other retired Generals were at the meeting.

    What a life>?

  8. [...] More… [...]

  9. Tharangani M

    Minister Muraleetharan “Karuna” and Doulus white van dealers under President

  10. Scrivan

    No wonder Sarath F says his life is in danger even if he is beating about the LTTE bus!. How can he defend himself with just 2 vehicles and 25 (?)bodyguards? He will need at least his original contingent. Karuna should be named Minister of White Vans as well and given an additional allowance Rs.100,000 to do specific jobs during election time. Afterall anything goes in Sri Lanka. No problem. Can always blame the LTTE ghosts because Sri Lanka has no crimes!

  11. Manjula

    Ransom taker, underworld dealer and murderer Maravin may b behind this shady incident !

    Damaned the leader and his pet dog !

  12. sr

    Now you know who the white van squad is right from the beginning. The billions of Rs taken in ransom is with STF personnel now. Recover that first.

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