BT journalist abused at hotel event - By Harry Jayawardana
From Business Times of The Sunday Times
A senior journalist from the Business Times (BT) was abused and threatened by Sri Lankan businessman Harry Jayawardena on Monday at the launch of Heritance Negombo, because he didn’t agree with what the reporter had written previously. It was the second time in six years that a reporter from the same paper had been ‘verbally’ assaulted and threatened by the controversial tycoon, the last time being December 14, 2009.
BT’s Quintus Perera was covering the event at Negombo based on an invitation received by the paper, when he was told by Heritance General Manager Ranjan Stanislaus that Mr. Jayawardena, majority owner of the Aitken Spence Group and its Heritance chain of resorts, wanted to speak to him.
“When I sat next to him, he began to abuse me in raw filth saying aren’t you ashamed to come to my place and eat,” said Mr. Perera, who filed a complaint at Police Headquarters the following day (Tuesday). “He continued to abuse me, saying, among other things, that he will kick my and and throw me out by your neck, and that I was biased in reporting a court case,” he said. Mr.Jayawardena, chairman of Stassen Exports (Pvt) Ltd and Stassen International has filed case against OSH Holdings over trademark rights of a particular tea brand, the proceeding which have been reported in the BT by Mr. Perera. The Aitken Spence chairman continued his tirade in the presence of several others at the table and others nearby. At one point he asked the BT.
journalist: “You p….a..r from what part of Ja-Ela are you from, Wewala, Kala Eliya or Weligampitiya?” Mr. Perera refused to divulge his address, got up, walked away and left the premises thereafter.
During a year-end event hosted by Hilton Colombo on December 14, 2009, Mr. Jayawardena pitched into BT senior writer Duruthu Edirimuni abusing her and saying “”I will send you to a place where you will never come from”.
A complaint was then filed at Fort Police station. When the paper inquired from the police as to the progress of the complaint, an officer replied: “We don’t know who Harry Jayawardena is”. The paper is still waiting for justice on that complaint. With regard to Monday’s complaint, Police said they would refer it to the SSP Negombo.