Alleged people smuggler faces $7.5m in fines
5 October 2001
PERTH: A Palestinian man arrested at Perth International Airport yesterday could be fined nearly $7.5 million and spend 20 years in jail if convicted of smuggling 1700 people into Australia.
The Palestinian - with two as-yet-unverified identities and ages - Keis Abd Al Rahim Asfoor, 31, and Iman Dogan, 30 - was arrested about 3am local time and charged with smuggling 1698 people into the country aboard 17 boats.
Australian Federal Police spokesman Steve Jackson said the arrest went smoothly and had been conducted in a "low-key" manner so as not to alarm other passengers disembarking from the flight from Indonesia.
Mr Jackson said officers had been tailing the man - whose identity they believed was Asfoor - for two years while waiting for him to enter Australian jurisdiction so they could charge him with people smuggling.
Asfoor, a resident of Indonesia, was charged with 17 counts of facilitating people-smuggling into Australia and another 17 in relation to taking part in the smuggling between June 1999 and 24 March 2001.
"These are very serious charges under the Migration Act of 1958 which attract a maximum of 20 years in jail and fines of about $220,000 per charge," Mr Jackson said.
If convicted he could face a maximum of 20 years in jail as well as a maximum fine of $7.48 million.
He was not required to enter a plea in Perth Magistrates Court and was remanded in custody to reappear on October 12.