Sept 06, Colombo: Sri Lanka police today arrested an officer of Sri Lanka Navy on the suspicion of assisting a large-scale human smuggling operation.
The Matara Police today arrested the naval officer, a lieutenant commander of the Trincomalee Navy Camp and four foreign agents over their alleged involvement in the human smuggling racket, according to a report in Ceylon Today.
The unidentified naval officer was reportedly asked to appear before the Special Investigation Unit of the Matara Police for questioning and later he was arrested by the police.
Navy Spokesperson, Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya, has confirmed the officer's arrest on suspicion of his involvement in the smuggling racket.
The suspects have been produced before the courts and the Matara Magistrate has ordered to remand them.
Sri Lanka police last month arrested 14 people in connection with the human smuggling operations to Australia by sea and among the arrested were four naval officers.
Earlier this year Australian media reports based on the information provided by the asylum seekers revealed the involvement of Sri Lankan Navy officers in the lucrative smuggling operation. Sri Lanka Navy categorically denied the allegations as baseless.
A senior advisor to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) responsible for conducting the investigations into human smuggling operations in South Asian region has visited the Matara Police to see the suspects.
The Matara police on August 8th arrested 39 people who were ready to illegally migrate to Australia by sea. The arrested asylum seekers have provided the information on the smuggling operation that enabled the police to nab the suspects.
So far, 22 suspects have been arrested in connection with human smuggling.
According to the police, the prospective illegal migrants from Trincomalee and Jaffna were asked to pay Rs. 200,000 as down payment and another Rs 800,000 when they board the boat to Australia.