Refugees pay $40,000 to come by plane

Sally Neighbour; 24/11/09; (3 Items)

Asylum-seekers are arriving in Australia by air in numbers that dwarf boat arrivals, after paying people-smugglers up to $US40,000, for a package that includes airfares, false passports and forged Australian visas. The racket has been revealed by a Sri Lankan refugee who was granted a protection visa after arriving in Australia in April on false travel documents supplied by a professional people-smuggler in Malaysia. Figures from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship show the number of asylum-seekers who arrive by plane dwarfs the numbers who arrive by boat. A DIAC spokesman said that, in 2008-09, 206 people were granted protection visas after arriving in Australia by boat, while 2172 received protection after arriving by plane.

See:; ‘Special team’ to assess Oceanic Viking Sri Lankan asylum-seekers; Paul Maley & Nicolas Perpitch;; Island detainee riot sparked by pool game; Yuko Narushima; 24/11/09;; Tamils risk all to flee Sri Lanka;

Another asylum-seeker boat intercepted off WA
An Australian naval vessel has intercepted a boat carrying 56 suspected asylum seekers and two crew off Australia’s northwest coast. The vessel was intercepted by HMAS Bathurst at about 3.35pm (AEDT) today about 100 nautical miles northwest of Derby. It is the 46th asylum seeker boat intercepted in Australian waters this year and the second in as many days. The group will be transferred to Christmas Island where they will undergo security, identity and health checks and their reasons for travel will be established.

People smugglers talk about their methods
Arabic news network Al Jazeera has broadcast a report claiming to expose the methods used by people smugglers operating between Indonesia and Australia. Journalist Step Vaessen interviews two men in the report, Asylum seekers Riot in Australia, who say they are part of a smuggling syndicate involving people from Afghanistan and Indonesia. Their faces disguised with hats and scarves, the men detail their illegal and dangerous journeys transporting asylum seekers on small fishing boats to Australia. “I have no fear,” one man, a boat captain, tells the reporter. “I heard that when we are arrested in Australia, we are put in a fancy prison with good facilities, and are being brought back home in a plane to Jakarta, and then back here (to West Timor).”
See:; People smuggling trade flourishing; 24/11/09;