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Legal Matters

Sri Lanka’s legal system is a complex, almost arcane mix of British, Roman-Dutch and national law. The legal system tends to move slowly, and even a visit to a police station to report a small theft can involve much time-consuming filling out of forms. The tourist police in major towns and tourist hot spots should be your first point of contact in the case of minor matters such as theft.

Drug use, mainly locally grown marijuana, but also imported heroin and methamphetamine, occurs in tourist centres such as Hikkaduwa, Negombo and Unawatuna. Dabbling is perilous; you can expect to end up in jail if you’re caught using anything illegal and your home government may be unable to help beyond putting you in touch with a local lawyer.