July 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka Navy today intercepted a fishing trawler carrying illegal immigrants bound for Australia in the deep seas off Kalkudha in the Eastern Province.
According to the Navy, a multi-day fishing trawler carrying 109 illegal asylum seekers was detected in the Eastern seas about 25 nautical miles off of Kalkudha coast.
The group of people, most of which are ethnic Tamils included 8 Sinhalese and 101 Tamils from Chilaw, Valaichchenai, Kalmunai, Talawakele and Kalpitiya areas, Navy spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya has said.
The suspects and their boat have been escorted to the Trincomalee Harbour and handed the suspects over to the Harbour police.
This is the third arrest by the Navy in five days.
Meanwhile, Chilaw Police have arrested 22 people - 18 of them Tamils from Mullaitivu and Jaffna, in Munneswaram of Chilaw district when the group was trying to illegally travel to Australia.
The arrested include two human smugglers, who are from Ridiwella and Udappuwa, and a three-wheeler driver. The police also found Rs. 294,000 in cash in one suspect's possession.
According to the police the smugglers have charged each immigrant 900,000 rupees for the trip.
The group of asylum seekers has reportedly arrived and stayed at a hotel in Munneswaram waiting for departure. They have been travelling in 3 three-wheelers when they were arrested.
The suspects are to be produced in the Chilaw District Court today.