Grease Devils – Sri Lanka police request public not to be vigilantes

Aug 13, Colombo: The police in  Sri Lanka  requested the general public not take law into their own hands but let the law enforcement personnel to handle situations after clashes erupted in several cities and people attacked individuals suspected of assaulting women under the guise of ghosts called “Grease Devils”.

Police Spokesman SP Prishantha Jayakody said several incidents of residents attacking individuals arriving in their villages have been reported and the strangers are being attacked irrationally by the villagers under the false concept of “Grease Devils”.

The Sri Lankan police have arrested at least 47 “Grease Devils” who allegedly were  sexually assaulting women in rural areas, causing panic, reports said.

The police said they have received information of certain individuals spreading false rumors, ganging up and engaging in such activities for their own amusement while others are avenging personal grudges.

The Spokesman warned that there is no leniency in law for unrealistic ghost tales and those who taking the law into their own hands and carrying out such attacks will be punished regardless of their status.

The police requested the public to act more responsibly and appropriately an if spotted any suspicious activity or individuals to contact the nearest police station or dial 119, 118 police hotlines.

On Friday, police said they fired tear gas to disperse dozens of people who besieged a police station in the eastern town of Potuvil, demanding the release of four men who had captured and planned to lynch a suspected “grease devil”.

About ‘grease devil

Historically, a ‘grease devil’ was a thief who wore only underwear and covered his body in grease to make himself difficult to grab if chased. But lately, the ‘grease devil’ has become a nighttime prowler who frightens and attacks women.

“The story we hear is he comes and bites young women’s necks and breasts. Despite several complaints, the police have failed to act on that and in fact in two places have released the culprits,” a 36-year-old airline ticketing agent from the Hill Country district of Matale said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of upsetting authorities.


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