AFP monitored alleged people smuggler daily, court told
November 4, 2004

THE activities of an accused people-smuggling ringleader were monitored on a daily basis by a Jakarta-based Australian Federal Police officer, a Perth court was told today.

The officer, who was based at the Australian embassy in Jakarta for two years from December 2000, told the West Australian District Court today he had been in daily contact with an associate of alleged people smuggler Hasan Ayoub - a Pakistani also known as Naeem Ahamad Chaudry - throughout 2001.

AFP Agent Glenn McEwen said that in March 2001 he had videotaped a meeting in Jakarta between his contact and Mr Ayoub, who has been charged with illegally smuggling nearly 400 asylum seekers from Indonesia into Australia in March and April 2001.

Mr Ayoub's associate, whose identity was suppressed by the court, gave the AFP officer 25 passports he said belonged to Pakistani asylum seekers paying Ayoub to illegally transport them to Australia, Agent McEwen said.

Agent McEwen told the court that on several occasions he observed people of Arabic and central Asian descent congregating at a Jakarta hotel and boarding buses.

On one occasion, buses containing people of both groups left the same hotel and were later intercepted by Indonesian police at a common boat departure point for asylum seekers on the west coast of Java, Agent McEwen said.

Agent McEwen told the court his contact was not paid to provide information, nor was he receiving any benefits from the Australian government other than accommodation and basic living expenses while in Perth for the trial.

The informant, who said he worked for Mr Ayoub in 2001 organising passengers for illegal boat travel to Christmas Island, has been living in Australia for two years on a criminal justice visa, which does not allow him to work or stay in Australia permanently.

The trial is expected to continue for another two weeks.

The Sunday Times


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