Indonesia: Australia-bound illegal immigrants arrested in East Nusa Tenggara
BBC Monitoring International Reports via NewsEdge Corporation
20 June 2001

Text of unattributed report, entitled: "Police foil smuggling of 67 immigrants to Australia" by Indonesian newspaper Media Indonesia web site on 20 June

Kupang: Police have foiled an attempt by a syndicate to smuggle 67 illegal immigrants originating from Iran and Iraq to Australia. [They were arrested] on Monday night (18 June) on Raijua Island, some 115 miles from Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara Province (NTT).

Kupang Police Chief Asst Senior Comm Wiliardi Wizar [name as published] told reporters yesterday (19 June) that the 67 were arrested by local police on the island as they were preparing to make the crossing to Australia in a sailing boat to be rented from local fishermen.

"We suspect that a syndicate is behind this - they hid them on Raijua Island to keep them far away from surveillance by the security forces" , Wizar said. The attempt failed when local police arrested them. They were currently sailing from Sabu to Kupang on a ferry.

"Tomorrow morning [20 June] they will arrive in Kupang and we will hold them at Kupang police station along with the 44 others arrested last week" , Wizar said.

He said that the other 44 illegal immigrants also came from Iran and Iraq. Fourteen of them had been arrested on Rote Island, some 40 km from Kupang, and 30 others had been arrested in Kupang itself, as their visas had expired.

The 14 arrested on Rote would soon be sent to Larantuka, East Flores for immediate repatriation by the UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees].

The 30 Iranians and Iraqis [arrested in Kupang] had been staying at the house of an Australian, Kevin John Enis, who lived at Lima Kelapa in Kupang City. "We couldn't arrest them at Kevin's house [before now] because their papers were in order -they had passports and visas," Wizar said. They were only detained after their [visas expired].

These Middle East immigrants also intended to cross to Australia illegally. They had been staying at Kevin's house only until their [visas expired].

The [Kupang] police chief said that his office was coordinating with the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration [IOM] to deport them to their respective homelands. "We have no funding to deport them. We can't even manage the 18,000 rupiah per day per person to feed them, let alone repatriate them. So we're coordinating with the UNHCR and the IOM to handle them from here" , he said. The 44 illegal immigrants, including two young children and their mother, were being accommodated at the Kupang Police auditorium.

Kupang Police were building an emergency shelter behind the police station to temporarily house the immigrants, including the 67 expected to arrive today from Sabu.

Source: Media Indonesia, Jakarta, in Indonesian 20 Jun 01

All Material Subject to Copyright Copyright 2001: . All Rights Reserved.

Asia Intelligence Wire

BBC Monitoring International Reports -- 06/20/01

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