Maldives nab foreigners for prostitution

January 17, 2006 (LBO) — Five foreigners have been arrested in the Indian Ocean Island of Maldives for allegedly offering commercial sex and having lubricants and condoms on them, police said Thursday. “Three men and two women were arrested Tuesday midnight on a tip off from a house in Male,” police spokesman Sergeant Ahmed Shiyam said by telephone from the capital island of Male. He declined to give their nationalities.

Prostitution is illegal in this Sunni Muslim atoll nation of 369,000 people. Foreigners who break the law face deportation, while locals face prison terms of up to three years, according to local laws.

At the time of their arrest, the foreigners were in possession of “articles that may be used during sex,” police said in a statement adding that its criminal investigation department was probing the matter.

About 700 kilometres (435 miles) southwest of Sri Lanka, the Maldives is a string of 1,192 coral islands scattered across the equator. Some 199 are inhabited with over 80 islands developed as high-end tourist resorts.

Maldives is renowned for its luxury resorts built on stilts over clear blue lagoons where the rich and famous sometimes pay up to 14,500 dollars a