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More Sri Lankan refugees likely

17 January 2011 04:38 am - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Human smugglers are preparing to ship at least 400 more Sri Lankan refugees and potential Tamil Tiger rebels to Canada from Southeast Asia, intelligence officials have told the Canadian government.

“There are two separate smuggling syndicates organizing two boats,” from two unnamed southeast Asian ports to the British Columbia coast, a well-placed federal government source told the Citizen.

“The syndicates, as far as our intelligence tells us, have not gotten ships, they’re in the process of trying to find ships,” each capable of carrying 200 to 300 passengers.

“These (two) are the ones that we are aware of. There could be more.”
Some passengers are now being marshalled to staging areas and, “waiting for a boat to appear.”

The official said Canadian authorities expect members of the outlawed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the violent separatist Sri Lankan rebel group that fought a civil war until its defeat in May 2009, will hide among the others.

Departure dates depend on weather, with March now considered a possibility.

Last August, about 500 Sri Lankan refugee claimants, including a handful the government suspects are Tiger rebels, arrived off Vancouver Island from Thailand on the smuggling ship MV Sun Sea. The government claimed the rebel network was involved in organizing the ship’s voyage from Thailand.

Another ship, Ocean Lady, arrived in October 2009 with 76 Sri Lankans from Malaysia.

Public Safety Canada officials could not be reached Sunday for comment.

The official said Canada, “has started the process of discussing,” how to disrupt the suspected upcoming operations with the countries involved. But “it’s their sovereign land, there’s very little we can do.”

After the Sun Sea, Thai, “authorities figured it out pretty quickly. It wasn’t in their best interests to allow this to keep happening because if would cause a huge influx of refugees and potential terrorists and they didn’t want a Tamil Tiger base set up in Thailand.”

Once smuggling ships set sail, there little that can be done beyond monitoring their progress.

“Ethically what do you do?,” said the official. “Smugglers don’t care, it’s money to them, just like anything else. If they’re confronted on the high seas, they’ll start throwing people overboard or they’ll scuttle the ship. It puts us in a really bad place.”

In December, a female Sun Sea passenger was ordered to remain in detention after a Canada Border Services Agency representative alleged that a piece of jewelry linked her to the Tamil Tigers. It was also alleged her workplace received funding from the same group.

(The Ottawa Citizen)
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  Comments - 4

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  • Sampath Monday, 17 January 2011 05:59 AM

    This is a decorated story by GOSL to reduce the pressure from International community.

    nagu Monday, 17 January 2011 08:09 AM

    Need to take action soon to disrupt these bogus LTTE refugees.....

    channa Monday, 17 January 2011 08:13 AM

    Tamil Refugees in India returning to SL, These LTTE supporters are trying to go to Canada....This shows these are Bogus Refugees who are going for economic reasons....

    ila Monday, 17 January 2011 02:24 PM

    until the government of Sri Lanka allows UN and NGOs, world is going to believe that crime is being committed against Tamils in Sri Lanka so they are eligible for claiming refugee.


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