26 more Sri Lankan Boat People return to Colombo

2 November 2012 05:30 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The men, who had arrived by boat at Christmas and Cocos Islands earlier in the week, left Christmas Island late on Thursday, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, said.


"Without a valid visa they had no legal right to remain in Australia and were removed at the earliest opportunity," he said in a statement on Friday.

The final member of a group of 15 Sri Lankans who arrived on the vessel Chejan -- the subject of an alleged hijacking off the Sri Lankan coast on Oct 13 - has also been returned.

Since Aug 13, Australia has returned 116 Sri Lankans voluntarily and involuntarily.

Meanwhile, the HMAS Leeuwin picked up 57 people on board a boat northwest of Ashmore Islands on Thursday.

They are being transferred to Christmas Island and face being sent to Nauru or Manus Island for processing.

Bowen said overall, the number of asylum seekers from most countries, including Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, had either reduced or "stabilised" since Aug 13.

"But we continue to see an increase from Sri Lanka," he told reporters later in Sydney.

A spike in the number of Sri Lankans arriving was due to people smugglers continuing to sell a product that didn't exist, he said.

"This is a business model they have come up with. Well, they are lying and we are going to show they are lying," Bowen said.

He also said he believed Manus Island would be ready to receive asylum seekers by the end of the year. (BERNAMA)
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  • Praveen Friday, 02 November 2012 12:00 AM

    Damn good those buggers are being sent back they have no right to go there via DM Android App

    Lanka Lion - Sydney Friday, 02 November 2012 12:25 PM

    Unlike asylum seekers from Iran,Iraq and Afghanistan it is much easier for asylum seekers from Sri Lanka to get to Australia via Cocos Island. It is that easy to get to Australia from Sri Lanka than to come from Indonesia where people smugglers charge a lot of money.Unless this loop-hole is fixed there will be more boat loads of asylum seekers risking their lives to come to Australia from Sri Lanka and even from other countries who might try to capitalise.


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