By Binoy Suriyaarachchi and
In two separate raids conducted within 48 hours, the Sri Lanka Navy and the Department of Police have apprehended 105 people attempting to illegally sail to Australia from Aluthgama and Batticaloa areas, sources close to Navy said.
In one incident, acting on a tip-off,...
a group of 44 people including five females and four children were apprehended by a police team, in Kaluwamodara, Aluthgama, while they were preparing to flee the country, yesterday morning.
The apprehended people have been identified as residents of Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Vakarai and Matale areas, police sources added. The suspects will be produced in the Aluthgama Magistrate's Court, today.
Meanwhile, a special patrolling naval team attached to the Eastern Naval Command of Batticaloa apprehended 61 people, including 60 Tamils and one Sinhalese, 23 nautical miles off Batticaloa while they were illegally sailing for Australia in a multi-day trawler named 'Madushan II,' Sri Lanka Navy Spokesperson, Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya told Ceylon Today.
He said the suspects were handed over to the police post of the Trincomalee Harbour for further police investigations.
According to reports, since last year more than 1,100 Sri Lankans, who arrived as irregular maritime arrivals in Australia have been returned by the authorities. Out of that number 795 were identified as involuntary returnees.