80 Sri Lankans held while trying to migrate to Australia

Colombo, June 19 (IANS) At least 80 Sri Lankans were detained by the navy Wednesday for attempting to illegally migrate to Australia, the navy said.

The trawler in which the detainees were travelling was intercepted by the navy. They were handed over to police for investigation, Xinhua reported.

On May 30, as many as 52 Sri Lankans were detained, and later handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department.

The Australian government has already sent home 1,161 Sri Lankans since August 2012.

Immigration and Citizenship Minister Brendan O’Connor earlier said in Australian capital Canberra that returning the group to Sri Lanka sends a powerful message.

“The Julia Gillard government is making it crystal clear that those who pay smugglers are throwing their money away and risking their lives in the process,” O’Connor said in a statement.

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