Indian Q' branch police personnel have launched a hunt for job racketeers who target Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in camps, promising them jobs in Australia.
"The racketeers lure refugees with promises to help them migrate to Australia on illegal ferryboats. We have placed signboards in front of all refugee camps, asking them to alert us about such racketeers. But most of them approach us only after they are conned," a senior Q' branch officer said.
In the past five years, Q' branch personnel have arrested at least 50 job racketeers, who cheated Sri Lankan refugees by promising them to get them citizenship of other countries. Last Sunday, Q' branch police in Ramanathapuram arrested four agents on charges of illegally sending Sri Lankan Tamil refugees either to their homeland or to Australia by mechanised boats for hefty amounts.
Of late, there have been several attempts by agents to send back refugees lodged in various camps in Tamil Nadu by collecting money ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 per person.
Police sources said there are 113 refugee camps in the state and more than 72,000 persons are being confined in them. Most of the refugees, after completing their studies, plan to move abroad. Their favoured destinations are Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka.
According to sources, the agents collect Rs 60,000 to 80,000 for preparing fake documents to send them to Canada. A few days ago, four Lankan refugees from various camps in the state were detained at Neelankarai. The refugees were interrogated and sent back to their respective camps. During questioning, they revealed that an agent had promised to take them to Christmas Island near Australia on an illegal ferryboat. They were promised that once they landed on the island, they could easily obtain Australian citizenship. Very recently, Australian government tightened the security on the borders of Christmas Island.
Police still don't know how racketeers manage to travel on sea for more than 12,000 km on illegal boats to reach Christmas Island. Some agents have been successful in transporting refugees to the island. Few other refugees have also been successful in flying to Canada using fake passports and travel documents. (Times of India)