Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, revealed that 10 out of the 12 Maldivians taken into custody by SriLankan police on Friday, were now released.
The Maldivians were taken into questioning for not meeting one or more of the following requirements; holding an expired passport, not possessing a valid identification or travel document and/or not carrying a valid visa.
A mother and her three children were taken in for questioning after their residence was raided and passports could not be found. Authorities released the four after they presented documents proving their passports had been handed over to Immigration for renewal.
In addition to charging a person for the alleged import and use of a banned tobacco product, the police also raised charges against an individual found to have overstayed their visa by a period of nine months.
A woman that remained in the country for a period of six months after her visa expired was fined and released on bail. An individual that overstayed in the country for a single day was also released.
Police released another four individuals that were taken in following a coffee shop search during which it was determined that they were not holding any valid identification.
According to the Ministry's Director of Communications Miuvan Mohamed, the Embassy of Maldives in Colombo provided consular assistance. The Ministry further advised Maldivians to cooperate with authorities and to have passports or other identification ready at hand, as a preparatory measure.
Presently, approximately 13,000 Maldivians reside in Sri Lanka for educational, medical and other purposes.