04 February 2009

Australian immigration authorities arrest suspected people smuggler

Indonesian and Australian immigration authorities have arrested who they believe to be an illegal people smuggler, reports The Age.

The man in question is believed to have sent three boatloads of asylum seekers using Indonesia as their gateway to move to Australia illegally.  At the same time, authorities also intercepted a boat of asylum seekers emigrating to Australia without an Australian visa.

The immigration authorities have accused the man, Haji Tahir, of organising three successful people-smuggling missions to Australia as well as several missions that never made it to Australian shores.

The arrest of Tahir follows another arrest of a people-smuggling ringleader two months ago. 

Since the incumbent Australian Government has been making changes to the laws for protecting Australian borders, it has been under-fire for making Australia a soft target for people smuggling.  However, Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has ensured Indonesia and Australia are working cooperatively to tackle the problem and share information.

Indonesia is now also allowing people-smuggling suspects to be extradited to Australia for trial under Australian law, because Indonesia has not yet developed comprehensive enough laws in regards to people smuggling. 

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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