Sri Lankan fined after breaking into Aussie team rooms

A Sri Lankan court convicted a man posing as a male escort after he broke into the hotel rooms of two Australian cricketers and offered them services during the ongoing World Twenty20, police said on Friday.

The 21-year-old Sri Lankan, named as Abdul Karim, was fined 1,000 rupees ($7.6) and handed a one-month suspended jail term after he pleaded guilty on Thursday to a charge of breaking and entering.

The man breached supposedly tight security last Monday at the luxury Cinnamon Grand hotel in central Colombo where the Australian team were staying ahead of their game against India on Friday.

“The man had gone into a player’s room offering his services as a male escort,” a police officer involved in the case told AFP. “The player refused and he barged into another room when the Australians alerted hotel security.”

The authorities had declared floors occupied by cricketers as out-of-bounds as part of security for players during the September 18-October 7 tournament that was billed as the same level as for visiting heads of state.

“No harm was done, but the intrusion was a serious embarrassment,” a senior official coordinating security for the tournament told AFP. “Since then, we have reviewed the arrangements and taken some new measures.”

Neither police nor security officials named the players involved. There was no immediate comment from the game’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC). The Australian team also declined comment when contacted.

Hotel security has been a key issue at international cricket tournaments since then-Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his room during the World Cup in Jamaica in 2007.

His death was initially treated as a murder case before police concluded he died of natural causes.

Monday’s intrusion was the second security breach during the competition in Sri Lanka.

On September 22, local residents in the southern port town of Hambantota stormed the grounds after they were told that tickets for the Sri Lanka-South Africa match at the 35,000-capacity ground had sold out.

Boisterous crowds smashed the barricades, stoned police vehicles and forcibly entered the grounds despite a heavy presence of police commandos.

The clashes came despite an unprecedented security operation for the tournament, the biggest sporting event ever to be hosted by Sri Lanka.

Bodyguards from the Ministerial Security Division (MSD) and commandos of the elite Special Task Force have been deployed to guard players in a drill usually reserved for visiting heads of state. (AFP)