Top human smuggler arrested in France

6 April 2012 01:17 am - 16     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A Sri Lankan man believed to be the mastermind behind the MV Sun Sea human smuggling case has been arrested in France and will be extradited to Canada, the RCMP said Thursday.

Thayakaran Markandu was arrested this week by French authorities and Interpol agents who were acting on behalf of the Canadian government. He was charged last month with organizing the smuggling of 492 people to Canada in August, 2010. Markandu, 40, was arrested without incident, RCMP said.

The Sun Sea smuggling operation became a celebrated case when Canadian authorities, given advance notice of the ship's departure for Canada, intercepted the vessel off Vancouver Island and escorted it to Esquimalt Harbour.

Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney wasted no time in congratulating the arresting authorities for capturing Markandu.

"We would like to take this opportunity to commend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Interpol and the French authorities for their efforts in apprehending Mr. Markandu. Canada is a generous and compassionate country that welcomes newcomers. But no Canadian thinks it's acceptable to abuse our immigration system for financial gain through the despicable crime of human smuggling," the two ministers said in a joint statement.

They also used Markandu's arrest to underscore why they brought in new immigration rules that are under debate in Parliament.

"Our government takes this crime very seriously and that is why we introduced the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act. With this new legislation we are cracking down on human smugglers, including making it easier to prosecute them, and introducing mandatory minimum sentences."

However, that legislation has also been criticized as unduly harsh for the victims of human smuggling because it would allow the immigration minister to detain for one year anyone he has "reasonable grounds to suspect" was smuggled.

According to the National Post, Markandu came to the attention of police in Thailand in 2010 when he appeared to be organizing a smuggling operation involving a large vessel. Thai, Canadian and Australian authorities were led to Markandu while tracking suspected smuggled passengers who were being moved from Bangkok to southern Thailand.

When he was arrested by Royal Thai police at a Bangkok apartment building, he was using a French passport that listed his birthplace as Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka.

During the raid, Thai police seized 529 litres of engine lubricant in dozens of plastic oil drums, sacks of food and engine parts. Police photographed Markandu posing in front of the supplies.

But the arrests resulted only in charges of improper storage of materials and the men were released after paying a 10,000 Thai Baht fine, about $320.

In March of this year, the RCMP charged Markandu with human smuggling. They said he was living abroad while Mounties tried to track him down. Markandu faces a maximum of life imprisonment and a $1-million fine if convicted. (Source: vancouversun)

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  Comments - 16

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  • Yuri Friday, 06 April 2012 05:53 PM

    its not about Punishment.. they got him....

    bernard Friday, 06 April 2012 08:24 AM

    It will be interesting to see what sort of a punishment he will receive in Canada. There will be lots of presure from Tamil diaspora and he might get away with just a slap on the wrist.

    podalaJayantha Friday, 06 April 2012 09:39 AM

    How come he is wearing sunglasses in his ID photo?

    dot Friday, 06 April 2012 09:40 PM

    We all want to escape the economic bondage of the third world because whatever the measures taken to develop we cannot wait for our turn . The exploitation of the vulnerable and exposing them to inhuman modes of travel is a crime against high heaven !

    Fazli Friday, 06 April 2012 02:26 AM

    Human smuggling is the most serous form of 'human rights violation'.

    zion Friday, 06 April 2012 11:42 AM

    Well done RCMP. He should get the maximum punishment in Canada.

    Geoffrey Moreira Saturday, 07 April 2012 08:13 PM

    These " smugglers " are front organisations to fund LTTE terrorist activities in SL..Where is Channel 4 with this revelation?? John Snow I'm calling out your name.

    kondebendapucheena Friday, 06 April 2012 03:19 AM

    Human smuggling was the reason for most Diaspora in the west,no one can denied that

    Nodrog Friday, 06 April 2012 03:31 AM

    Good thing he was arrested in France because if it happened in SL it would have been labelled as harassment, human rights abuse,suppression of rights etc.

    Lucksman Friday, 06 April 2012 04:15 AM

    Learn the hard way what these Tigers have been doing around the world extorting huge amounts from their own people who sell everything to pay these scoundrels. Good eye opener wake up West.

    Dalu Banda Friday, 06 April 2012 05:10 AM

    French and Canadian Authorities should preserve Markanu`s human rights according to the highest international standards

    chamila Friday, 06 April 2012 02:17 PM

    Hil---Larry save him please,,,,

    banda Friday, 06 April 2012 06:10 AM

    come on man. I thought the humans willingly ask and pay for that

    SALIYA WICKREMASURIY Saturday, 07 April 2012 06:33 AM

    Thank you RCMP. Also obliterate TRO operating all over Canada.

    Fair N Square Friday, 06 April 2012 04:24 PM

    thats how it is.. They are NOT taken out to countries by force. The passengers come up with the money needed and its a case of basic economics. DEMAND meeting SUPPLY...

    Fair N Square Friday, 06 April 2012 04:42 PM

    The canadian authorites as well as from other countries need to get access to passengers whom he was able to smuggle out. Then track em out and IF granted asylum... revoke the BOGUS asylum applications and deprt em back.. I think they should do so taking in to consoderation the ecnomic situation in those countries and the burden of caring for the so called" Bogus Asyleesand refugees"


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