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(Pics by Chandana Wijesinghe)

Sri Lanka Customs officials today seized 8000 kilograms of ‘Kothala Himbutu’ worth Rs.4.2 million from a container.

Customs Spokesman Leslie Gamini said the stock of ‘Kothala Himbutu’ had been sent to Japan by an exporter in Colombo 11 who had declared the consignment to be 1600 bags of Cinnamon chips. ‘Kothala Himbutu’ (Salacia reticulata) is a plant native to Sri Lanka and its export is prohibited by law.

According to Customs officials, the consignment had already been sent from Sri Lanka when the deception was uncovered. The vessel transporting the container was en route to Japan from Malaysia when Sri Lanka Customs was able to recall the container.

Three suspects, including the alleged exporter have been arrested and Customs officials are conducting further investigations.

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