Published: Sun, May 06, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Tanker crammed with illegal migrants intercepted

Tanker crammed with illegal migrants intercepted

A rusty tanker crammed with illegal migrants and reportedly bound for Australia and New Zealand has been intercepted by Malaysian police.

"This syndicate has been operating since mid-2017 and has global connections across Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia", he added.

"This syndicate has been operating since mid-2017 and has worldwide connections across Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia", he added.

New Zealand Immigration Minister Ian Lees-Galloway has thanked Malaysian authorities for their work, saying that the interception sent a clear message to people smugglers.

He said the group included 98 men, 24 women, four boys and five girls.

Mr Lees-Galloway said lives had been put at extreme risk in the most vast and treacherous ocean in the world.

Tanker crammed with illegal migrants intercepted
Tanker crammed with illegal migrants intercepted

Out of the 131 persons, 127 have been arrested under the Immigration Act 1959/63.

In 2015 some boats carrying Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, arrived in Malaysia after Thai authorities clamped down on regional trafficking networks and preventing them from coming ashore in Thailand.

Maritime authorities on Tuesday halted a modified tanker named "Etra" in Malaysian territorial waters off southern Johor state, national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said.

"So I think, on the face of it, there's no possibility that it could be thinking of attempting to go to New Zealand".

It is believed the ship was heading to Australia and New Zealand.

"It's common knowledge that New Zealand has been mentioned as a target in the past", he said.

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