80 Sri Lankans detained while attempting to illegally migrate to Australia

Colombo, June 19 (Xinhua-ANI): Eighty Sri Lankans were detained by the navy on Wednesday for attempting to illegally migrate to Australia, the navy said on its website.

The trawler was intercepted by the navy and then handed over to the police for further investigations.

The number of arrests made has risen due to the navy increasing the number of boats patrolling the shores of Sri Lanka. On 30 May, 52 others were also similarly detained.

They were brought to Modera Fisheries Harbor and handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the police as well.

Already the Australian government has sent home 1,161 Sri Lankans 950 of them involuntarily - since August last year.

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O'Connor said earlier that returning the group to Sri Lankans sends a powerful message.

"The Gillard Government is making it crystal clear that those who pay smugglers are throwing their money away and risking their lives in the process," O'Connor was quoted as saying in a statement.

Sri Lanka's navy has also apprehended over 1,500 people while they were attempting to illegally migrate to Australia by boat.

The Australian government is working closely with the Sri Lankan navy to monitor and prevent boat people from Sri Lanka and have implemented awareness programs to discourage locals from attempting to illegally migrate. (Xinhua-ANI)

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