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Tuesday, June 05 , 2012 - 04.45 GMT
People smugglers set up in Australia, pretending to be refugees - report

 

People smugglers who have fraudulently obtained refugee status are operating inside Australia - and the federal government has been aware of the practice for a long time. ABC’s Four Corners revealed last night that senior people-smugglers and their families were among the thousands of asylum-seekers who had arrived by boat in order to continue their lucrative trade from Australia.

Using an Australian-based informant, Hussain, a refugee living in Australia, the ABC tracked down an alleged Iraqi people-smuggler known as ‘Captain Emad’. Captain Emad and several of his agents were allegedly sent by Jakarta-based smuggling kingpin Abu Ali al-Kuwaiti to establish a beach-head in Australia in 2010, The Australian reported.

Having passed himself off as a refugee to immigration authorities, Captain Emad - or Ali al-Abassi, the name he supplied to Australian immigration authorities - is now living in Canberra with his wife and children, whom he sent by boat in 2009, according to the ABC. The programme suggests a web of agents is at work in Australia, drumming up and facilitating business for the smugglers.

The Australian Federal Police last night (June 4) declined to say if it was investigating any of the people featured on the programme.

So far this year, 3700 asylum-seekers have arrived by boat compared with the 4565 who arrived here in all of last year.

Tamils are again among the boatpeople arriving in Australia.

The Australian has been told that the security agencies have voiced concerns about funds flowing to the people-smugglers from Sri Lanka’s relatively affluent Tamil diaspora.

The Australian government has been advised that members of the Sri Lankan community are engaging in criminal activity to fund the passage of former LTTE members to Australia by asylum boat.

It is understood that the advice from the security agencies related to a credit-card skimming racket operating from Perth involved Sri Lankan Tamils.

The racket was running in 2009 and was estimated to have netted $6.5 million from about 6000 victims.

West Australian Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Anticich said the type of fraud detected was favoured by criminal elements among the Tamil community the world over.

“Of the 20 persons arrested for offences regarding this crime type in Australia, 19 are confirmed to be of Tamil origin,” Anticich had said in 2010.


 

 
 
   
   
     
   
   

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