The island of Sri Lanka is currently facing a grave problem. Well organized and funded gangs are openly plundering archaeological sites islandwide.
The year 2012 saw a 70% rise in the plunder of archaeological sites across the island from 2011. Moreover, according to the Archaeological Department, there were 370 incidents in 2012. The beginning of the year 2013 has thus far offered no relief. In the first 37 days of 2013, there were 39 incidents.
According to officials, the plundering has recently become much more sophisticated. As inspector Rohana Chaminda explained, “Earlier, you were more likely to stumble upon a harmless villager chipping away at the earth with his farm tools . . . Today, backhoes are used, and the wrongdoers are not afraid of being seen.”
Police are currently investigating several gangs, however they estimate there are many more gangs currently operating across the island that that they have yet to identify. Police now believe that the excavation ring is much wider than they previously believed.