Maldives fishermen bring police record hashish haul

COLOMBO, Apr. 23 (AFP) – Fishermen in the Indian Ocean tourist paradise of the Maldives gave police their biggest catch of illegal drugs after an accidental discovery of hashish in a lagoon, the Haveeru News Service reported Sunday. Lobster fishermen found the hasish packed in 1,697 plastic bags on the ocean bed, the news agency said, adding that there were about 1,700 kilos (3,520 pounds) in total.

On Saturday, police, customs officials and defence forces confirmed the haul as the biggest illegal drug find in South Asia’s most expensive tourist destination.

The Maldives has a population of 300,000, mainly Sunni Muslims, and drug smuggling carries the death penalty although no one has been executed for the crime in the archipelago of 1,192 coral islands scattered across 850 kilometres (550 miles) near the equator. – Amal Jayasinghe