Sri Lanka arrests hundreds of kissing couples

Sri Lankan police have rounded up nearly 200 couples for kissing in public.

Colombo: Sri Lankan police have rounded up hundreds of young lovers for kissing in public following complaints that the overt displays of affection caused embarrassment to others, an official said on Thursday.

Nearly 200 couples have been briefly detained in the districts of Matara and Kurunegala over the past two weeks, police spokesman Prashantha Jayakody said.

"We have taken them into custody for indecent behaviour at a public place," Jayakody said. "Usually we free them after informing their parents. Charges are not pressed."

A resident in the town of Matara, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Colombo, said young couples were sometimes acting intimately on the beach as many could not afford the privacy of hotels.

Sri Lankan police are also known to occasionally round up so-called "umbrella lovers" who shelter under parasols in scorching sun along the coastal promenade in the capital.

Bureau Report

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