EX-LAUNCESTON MAN TELLS: `I'm no people smuggler'

Friday, 2 November 2001
Launceston Examiner

A former Launceston man has denied news reports from Indonesia that he has been involved in people smuggling and has been deported.

Kevin "Johnny" Enniss said from Surabaya yesterday that the reports of his deportation from Indonesia were false.

Mr Enniss, whose parents live in Launceston, said he had for 18 months gathered intelligence for Indonesian authorities.

"I am in Indonesia at the moment and I have never been involved in the negative side of people smuggling," he said.

"I am not involved in any way whatsoever, shape or form."

He said he had not been spoken to by any Indonesian police or Australian Federal Police about people smuggling.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said the mission in Dili and a consulate in Bali were investigating with local authorities.

Stories from news service Deutsche Presse Argentur suggested that another Australian named Paul McCarthy had also been deported.

Mr Enniss said Mr McCarthy had been taken from Kupang to Bali because of problems with documentation.

He said that stories of his involvement had started emerging after two major people smugglers were arrested in Kupang in Indonesia.

In August 1999 Mr Enniss was jailed in Indonesia without charge.

His wife Deance and their children were also jailed for a short time before Mr Enniss was released in December.

At that time he was in a dispute over ownership of a fishing boat with a South Australian fishing company Canook Pty Ltd.

Mr Enniss said that two fishing boats he owned remained confiscated along with a motor vehicle in Kupang as well as a house and refrigerated shipping containers.

One 34m vessel had sunk, he said.

He said his other fishing boats had been stolen and had been taken to Sulawesi where it had been due to take on board a load of 42 Pakistani asylum seekers. "While the vessel was in confiscation I have got evidence that it went to Bao Bao in Sulawesi to pick up 42 Pakistanis to take to Australia for $US60,000," he said.

"That's what first got me chasing information on people smuggling - why could my boat do that.

"But my boat never carried people in that case because I got the information and got it stopped in Sulawesi."

Mr Enniss said he was flabbergasted by persistent reports that he was involved in people smuggling.

"(Channel Nine reporter) Ross Coultheart came to Timor about two months ago with cameras rolling saying `You, you're the one who has been sending people to Australia.'

"I nearly fell over backwards."

He said he had supplied Australian authorities with names of people smugglers.

Mr Enniss said he had been involved in a joint operation with Indonesian police aimed at catching syndicate leaders.

"We had about 30 people from Surabaya and we were monitoring their movement to Kupang," he said.

"We organised their accommodation while we waited for the rest of the group but they cancelled and the police came in and took the 30 away."

He said that as a result of his 18-months' surveillance there was probably no Australian who knew as much about people smuggling as he did.

"I've got 600 contact numbers for people from Australia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait."

He said the accusation had come from Indonesian immigration officials who had not been able to use Kupang any longer.

"I have been working with top level police and those officials really got the shits with me."

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