More illegal migrants reach Australia despite curbs


Despite government’s efforts to curb illegal migration, 32 more Sri Lankans arrived in the Australian territory of Christmas Island yesterday raising the number to more than 1,400 within a month.The 32 passengers, including a girl, were transferred from their small fishing vessel to the island’s Flying Fish Cove after their boat was intercepted on Thursday.

During the week as many as three attempts by locals, mostly by persons in the north trying to leave by boat to Australia were foiled by the police.
The latest detection was made on Friday when 41 people, including two children and a woman, tried to leave from Mankerni in the Batticaloa district.

“We ambushed the group on a tip-off. They were mostly residents from Mullaitivu, Point Pedro and Trincomalee,” Vakarai Police Inspector T. Jayaseelan said.He said two drivers involved in transporting the would-be illegal migrants got away in their vehicles but the police arrested them after a 30 kilometre chase.

The 39 people and the two drivers have been remanded till July 20. Sri Lanka and Australia last year reached an agreement on cooperation to curb illegal migration.

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