The German foreign ministry has updated the country’s travel advice for the Maldives, warning its citizens to be cautious following resort raids by police and customs last week.
Five properties owned by opposition Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim were raided by authorities on suspicion of illegally possessing alcohol on Wednesday night.
In Monday’s updated travel advice, Germans were asked to refrain from making trips to the capital Malé.
“Domestic tensions can lead to violent riots in the capital, Malé. Against this background, in the middle of January 2018, police and customs raided several resorts for the first time,” the advice said.
Germany’s ambassador Joern Rohde tweeted his concerns about the raids in resorts, noting that tourists were inconvenienced by the police action.
Gasim’s Sun Island Resort, Paradise Island Resort, Holiday Island Resort & Spa and Fun Island Resort & Spa were searched under the suspicion that they were in illegal possession of alcohol released by customs to Royal Island & Spa.
The warrants permitted a search through documents, physical stocks of alcohol and pork, computer systems and storage devices.
Following the raids, the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) said that resorts owned by Villa Group had failed to pay taxes worth US$ 5.1million.
On Sunday Villa Group, which owns and manages the properties, filed a case under the criminal procedures law which allows individuals and companies to seek recovery of property seized unlawfully.
The group maintains authorities acted unlawfully by seizing the alcohol as the search warrant did not permit confiscation of property.
On Monday the government approved a 14-day temporary permit for the Villa resorts to import alcohol and pork, according to Mihaaru.
The tourism ministry said in a statement that the temporary permit was issued to ensure the comfort and convenience of tourists visiting the country, as tourism was an important revenue generator for the Maldivian economy.
The updated German travel advice follows warnings from the US and UK over terror threats.