Can Chinese Nationals Enter The Lotus Tower premises F.O.C ? Find out the facts…

Misleading Social

The Lotus Tower, the tallest building in South Asia, would be open to the public from today (September 15). There was a lot of noise among social media users, regarding an image claiming to be the entry permits for the Lotus Tower. The main talking point was on Tamil language being omitted from the ticket and where the Chinese nationals would be able to visit the Lotus Tower for free of charge.

Let’s look at the viral image first.

Social Media Posts 

Facebook posts with the image of a purported ticket to enter the Lotus Tower were shared widely as seen below.

Facebook | Archived

As per this ticket image, Chinese nationals would be permitted to visit the Lotus Tower for free, after producing a valid Chinese passport.

And also, there were many comments which said that Tamil language was disrespected, by removing the Tamil text and giving prominence to the Chinese language as seen below.

We decided to do a fact check on this.

Fact Check

We first check inspected the viral image of the ticket carefully and both the QR codes seen in the ticket displayed the text “Sri Lanka Fuel” without any reference to the Lotus Tower.

And there were a number of Sinhala language misspellings and language errors as well. It’s difficult to imagine a ticket with such glaring errors would be used as the official entry ticket for a major project.  

Chief Administrative Officer of Lotus Tower

Colombo Lotus Tower Management Company (Pvt) Limited, who are responsible for the management and operational tasks of the Lotus Tower, was established under the Treasury in March 2022.

We made an inquiry from the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of this company, retired Major General Prasad Samarasinghe, regarding the image of the viral ticket.

He mentioned the ticket being shared is not a genuine ticket. Prasad Samarasinghe said that Chinese nationals do not have any special privilege to visit the Lotus Tower and like any other foreign national, Chinese are also charged the same amount of USD 20 or its equivalent in other currencies or Sri Lankan Rupees.

CAO also highlighted that the official tickets did not carry even Sinhala language and only were printed in English and sent us the below photos as per our request.

Real Tickets 

CAO Prasad Samarasinghe also clarified about the fake tickets being shared in social media in a video interview as seen here. Here he also explains that the Rs.2000 ticket is not yet operationalized and expects to make it available in coming weeks so that the tickets could be purchased online.

Here is the official Lotus Tower website with details about the tickets.

The Chinese Embassy Sri Lanka

The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka also issued a Tweet stating that the photo circulating on social media is false. Posting two photos of the genuine ticket and the fake ticket, they pointed out to verify the authenticity of the content , before sharing them on social media, as seen below.

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Also, Tourism Minister Mr. Harin Fernando strongly emphasized during our inquiry that the ticket being exchanged through social media is a fake ticket.

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority

This fake ticket states that the tickets have been issued by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. In response to this, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority also issued a Twitter message stating that the Lotus Tower is not under that authority and belongs to The Lotus Tower Management Company Pvt Ltd. As a result, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has not issued tickets to visit the Lotus Tower as shown in the fake ticket, and will not issue any tickets in the near future.

Archived

The President`s Media Division 

The President’s Media Division issued an announcement on 31st August, stating that operations of the Lotus Tower, the tallest building in South Asia, would commence from today (15).

In the press release also, it’s clearly stated that Rs. 500 and 2000 tickets would be issued for Sri Lankan adults and USD 20 (which can be purchased in any currency) tickets would be issued for foreigners to visit the Lotus Tower.

By purchasing a Rs. 500 ticket, one can visit the tower as a part of a group, and anyone who gets a 2000 Rupee ticket can enter the Lotus Tower premises without queuing and can even go up the tower a few times.

Also, children under the age of 10 can enter the Lotus Tower for Rs.200 and Rs.500 respectively. The difference being, as with the Rs. 2000 ticket, Rs.500 would allow the child to enter the Tower premises unlimited times during the day and without being in the queue.

Also, there is a special package planned for all school children from 1st of October onwards. By contacting the Lotus Tower management, pre-booked school trips can be arranged from 9am to 2pm during week days, in which each school student would be charged Rs.  200 only as seen here

Offering many new experiences to the people, the Lotus Tower to be opened today (September 15) will be open to the public from 2 pm– 11pm during weekdays and from 12 noon to 12 midnight and the tower management expects to extend these timings in the future. 

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Conclusion

Our investigation shows that the viral images with Chinese text and claiming to be free entry for Chinese Nationals to Lotus Tower were not genuine tickets.

Our observation confirmed that the QR code shown there is a code that is not related to the Lotus Tower at all. Also, Chief Administrative Officer of Lotus Tower Pvt. Ltd. retired Major General Prasad Samarasinghe confirmed that the tickets being circulated were fake and sent us the photos of the actual tickets that will be issued from today.

Every foreigner, including Chinese, has the opportunity to visit the Lotus Tower after purchasing a ticket for USD 20 or paying the equivalent amount in another currency including LKR.

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Title:A special privilege for Chinese people to enter Lotus Tower free of charge (Photo of a Ticket)??…. Find Out the Facts

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Misleading

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