POLICE have begun checking hotel registers for foreign journalists covering the conflict in the country. Journalists and other 'suspects' identified in the checks have been questioned by police about the areas they travelled to, what they saw and who they spoke to. The South China Morning Post reporter and photographer covering the country's troubled north and east received an unannounced visit from senior police on Saturday. Four officers from the Kandy headquarters asked to see us at about 7.30 pm (10 pm Hong Kong time) after searching the hotel guest list. We had been travelling through areas where the rebel Tamil Tigers were operating against government forces, and arrived in Kandy about 110 kilometres north-west of Colombo two hours before the visit by police. Several pictures and news stories had been transmitted from the hotel. The officers questioned us about where we had been in the past week. We refused to give any details, and asked them to check our press credentials with the Sri Lankan Information Department. They said the information was needed for police intelligence units and that similar checks were being made throughout Sri Lanka. After about 20 minutes, the police left but returned a little later to ask more questions. We again asked them to check our credentials. They also questioned hotel staff who had assisted us to transmit photographs and news stories to Hong Kong. It is believed the police also listened to outgoing phone calls made by the Post. The officers said they had been checking the guest lists of all hotels in the region in the past two weeks. They also asked if the Post team had been in Colombo where two suicide bombers launched attacks on Saturday which left 15 dead. Three days ago in Kandy, two Tamil Jesuit priests were detained for questioning on suspicion they were assisting the Tigers. The Government maintains strict controls over the domestic press and, while censorship laws have not been applied to the foreign press, they are refused access to the north unless they are with government escorts.