Sri Lankan politician arrested for human smuggling

July 25th, 2012 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, July 25 (IANS) A politician and another suspect have been arrested over a human smuggling operation in Sri Lanka, police said.

Police spokesperson Ajith Rohana told Xinhua that the politician is a member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and is a candidate for the local council elections in the east scheduled for September.

“Over the past few days there were reports of attempts by people to go overseas by boat illegally. We had reported how the Tamil diaspora may also be involved in human smuggling and that has now been confirmed with the arrest of the two key suspects,” the police spokesperson said.

He said the two suspects were believed to have been involved in attempts to send several Tamils to Australia by boat.

The two were arrested from the eastern town of Trincomalee where several attempts were made in the recent days by asylum seekers to head to Australia by boat.

Rohana said that the suspects had taken money from the Tamils to send them overseas through illegal means.

He said that they are looking for more suspects.

Despite the risks of being caught by Sri Lankan authorities or perishing during their journey, many continue to risk their lives to reach Australia by boat.

According to the Australian media, over 1,300 Sri Lankans illegally reached Australia by boat since January 2012.

The Sri Lankan Navy and the police have arrested hundreds of others over the past several weeks as they attempted to make the treacherous journey by boat.

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