Australia ‘paid to turn back boat’ with Lankans
Australian officials had allegedly paid tens of thousands of dollars to people smugglers to turn a boat full of asylum seekers including Sri Lankan refugees back to Indonesia, Fairfax reported on Wednesday.
A boat carrying 65 people from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, who were seeking asylum in New Zealand, was boarded by Australian custom officers in late May.
Asylum seekers on board the boat described being kept in “jail-like conditions” on a navy ship as navy and Customs officials intercepted, before the boat was turned around and sent back to the Indonesian island of Rote.
There, the local police chief alleges the six crew members were given US$ 5,000 each by Australian custom officials.
The Rota police chief said he saw the money himself, wrapped in six black plastic bags when the crew was apprehended for their people-smuggling operation.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has denied the claims and refused to answer questions on the matter.
A letter detailing the allegations was signed by all 65 asylum seekers on board the boat and delivered to the New Zealand government.
The letter said officials had paid at least $7000 to each of the six crew members.
One of the asylum seekers on board the boat, Nazmul Hassan from Bangladesh told Radio New Zealand the boat twice encountered New Zealand officials, and those on board were told Australia “wanted to donate for us to go back to Indonesia”.
The asylum seekers reportedly swam ashore after their boat hit rocks in the West Rote district of Indonesia, after the crew agreed to turn the boat around.
Speaking from a detention centre in West Timor, Mr Hassan said he and the rest of the group were “mentally very upset”.
Former Immigration Department Executive Peter Hughes told Fairfax if the payment was true it would be unprecedented.
“I have never heard of that happening before,” he said.
(News.com.au / FILE PHOTO)
- Sri Lanka relaxes import restrictions on over 300 items June 10, 2023
- Sri Lanka Government to go ahead with privatising SLT despite ‘NO’ from S.O.C. on National Security June 10, 2023
- Seven Police Narcotics Bureau officers arrested over death of vocational trainer in custody June 9, 2023
- Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security recommends not to privatise Sri Lanka Telecom June 9, 2023
- Sarath Fonseka resigns from Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security June 9, 2023
This is a good way to make money, bring a boat full of refugees to Australia, get paid for it and take them back. Later all the passengers share the money equally and sail again.
This appears to be a true story.
Australia has reneged all its obligations under international treaty in dealing with the refugee crisis.
It is possible Australia resorted to bribery to turn away refugee boats.
recently, the tried to free a couple of drug smugglers from the gallows in Indonesia. The Indonesian Government stood firm and emerged victors.
The Liberal Government of Australia was friends with the deposed Rajapaksa Government. A platinum coated dinner set gifted to the Australian Immigration Minister remains unreported in the parliamentary gift register.
I think Australia needs a dose of Yahapalanaya.