Indonesian Police Arrest 38 More Asylum Seekers Heading for Australia

Jakarta Globe, 20 July 2012

Just one day after police arrested 41 asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia via the coast of West Java, police arrested another 38 foreigners on Friday, according to reports.

The group was arrested after police, following a tip, set up a roadblock in front of the Cisolok subdistrict police station on Thursday. They intercepted a convoy of nine vehicles carrying the asylum seekers.

“We also detained nine Indonesians who were driving the vehicles,” Adj. Comr, Sumaryoto the head of police intelligence for the Sukabumi police force, told Antara.

Sumaryoto declined to give further details, saying police were still investigating the case.

Sukabumi Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. M. Firman said the district’s coast has seen a recent increase in asylum seekers trying to illegally enter Australia.

“In anticipation of this, we are coordinating with the coastal communities — whenever they see anything suspicious, they should report it immediately to the nearest police personnel. We are also tightening our surveillance of the coastal area,” Firman told Antara.

Early on Wednesday, police in Ciemas (a subdistrict of Sukabumi) received another tip and arrested 2 Syrians and 39 Afghans as they were being transported in four minivans. The group was headed to Siwaru beach to meet a boat that was scheduled to head for Australis’s Christmas island.

In that case, police named two Indonesians as suspects, and believe the coordinator is still on the run. Nine soldiers who had escorted the convoy were also handed over to the military police for investigation.

The police also confiscated the four vans which transported the migrants, and questioned the drivers.

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