150 Lankan nationals held while trying to sail to Australia
Marine Enforcement officials took into custody 150 Sri Lankan nationals of Tamil origin, who were on their way to Australia, from a fishing boat off the Kollam coast, police said today.india Updated: Jun 04, 2012 13:29 IST
Marine Enforcement officials took into custody 150 Sri Lankan nationals of Tamil origin, who were on their way to Australia, from a fishing boat off the Kollam coast, police said on Monday.
The group including 19 women and 22 children were taken into custody here last night.
On interrogation, it was found that they had been brought here by a racket involved in arranging illegal passage to Australia.
They had been detained in the Armed Reserve Camp of the Kerala Police and were being questioned
According to police, they were suspected to have arrived here by sea from the island nation on their way to Australia.
The agents, who charge about Rs 1 lakh per person for arranging the passage, had lured them by telling them that they would get refugee status on reaching Australia.
Police was tipped off on the presence of the Sri Lankans by people from the coastal hamlet Kavanad on seeing a group a women and children on the shores, waiting for the boat.
Police and marine guards soon launched a search and seized the boat which had 136 persons aboard. Fourteen persons were standing on the shore. Many of them looked shabby and tired, police said.
The boat had been brought to shore and detained in the Coastal Police station at Sakthikulangara.