Navy officer held for people smuggling

2013-09-07 15:30
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Colombo - Sri Lankan police have arrested a navy officer suspected of involvement in smuggling people in fishing boats to Australia, officials said on Saturday.

Australia announced tough new measures in mid-July to discourage illegal boatpeople.

Since then, local police have apprehended three boats and detained 300 Sri Lankans, including 56 women and 93 children.

The Sri Lankan officer was taken into custody on Friday following the discovery of 73 would-be illegal immigrants in a trawler off the island's southern coast six weeks ago, a police officer said.

Four navy sailors were taken into custody last month following the trawler's interception.

But Lieutenant Commander Sanjeewa Annatugoda is the most senior officer to be arrested in connection with people smuggling, police said.

A navy official, who declined to be named, confirmed the officer's arrest, and said internal investigations were underway.

The latest arrest of a navy officer is an embarrassment for Colombo which has maintained that there is no senior level official collusion with people smugglers.

Australia has said it will transfer all asylum seekers to impoverished Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Even if their asylum claims succeed, they will not be settled in Australia.

But Sri Lankan officials said the announcement did not appear to be a deterrent for many Sri Lankans hoping to start a new life in Australia.

Australia has been supporting efforts by Sri Lanka's navy to improve its ability to detect people-smuggling boats.

Sri Lankans pay up to $7 600 to people smugglers for a place on trawlers that take up to three weeks to make the crossing to Australia.

Some migrants travel by air to Indonesia and then take rickety wooden vessels to the Australian coast.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    sri lanka  |  australia publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks to floor USA by 38 - bookies
Debate over Lancaster rages on
US Eagles ready to take off
Samoan duo in hot water
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.