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Sri Lankan guide detained after swindling 900 U.S. dollars from Chinese tourist

COLOMBO, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- A Sri Lankan tour guide has been arrested on the charge of having swindled 900 U.S. dollars from a Chinese woman after guiding her around the capital city, local media reported on Tuesday.

The tourist had gotten into a three-wheeler commonly referred to by Sri Lankans as "tuk tuk", a cheap form of transportation.

The taxi driver had charged her 900 U.S. dollars after taking her for a tour around Colombo city but was later arrested by police and remanded till October 31 by a Colombo Court.

Making a complaint before Kollupitiya police, the Chinese woman identified in the local press as Chu stated that she arrived in Sri Lanka on October 14 and stayed at a hotel in Colombo.

The next day, a person who introduced himself as a tour guide promised to take her sightseeing around the city.

The complainant further stated that the suspect who hired a trishaw for the tour solicited a sum of 1,200 U.S. dollars, which she had parted with.

Subsequently, she had come to know that the suspect had cheated her of 1,100 U.S. dollars and she had conveyed this message to him through another tour guide, after which the suspect had returned 200 U.S. dollars saying he had charged 100 U.S. dollars for his guide services and 900 U.S. dollars was the cost of hiring the trishaw.

The complainant alleged that the tour guide had overcharged her for the tour and cheated her of 900 U.S. dollars, said local newspaper Dailymirror.

When the suspect named Sanjeewa Wijesinghe was produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate, he was ordered to be remanded till October 31.

Chinese travelers are beginning to dominate Sri Lanka's tourism industry inching up to record the eighth largest number of arrivals for the first eight months of 2013.

Even though Sri Lanka's booming post-war tourist industry has been firmly cemented on European tourists China has leapt ahead with a 74.3 percent rise in arrivals.

According to the latest statistics released by the state-run Tourism Development Authority 24,306 Chinese visited the island nation from January to August.

Sri Lanka attracted over one million tourists in 2012.

It has set a target of 1.25 million for 2013 and hopes to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016. To achieve this mark Sri Lanka needs 100,000 Chinese tourists by 2016.

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