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Two men arrested in Australia over alleged people smuggling network

Jun 24, 2020

Sydney (Australia), June 24: Two men have been arrested in Australia in relation to an alleged international people smuggling network, Australian Federal Police (AFP) revealed on Wednesday.
Police allege the pair were involved in facilitating an illegal vessel carrying six people which was intercepted by Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) en-route to Australia earlier this year.
According to the police, the network informs potential illegal immigrants they will be brought to Australia and forced to work for a year without income in "debt bondage", in order to repay the criminal syndicate's price for their journey.
The men, aged 30 and 31, came to the attention of police in January when the vehicle they were travelling in became stuck in a remote region of Australia's Northern Territory.
A distress message was sounded and when authorities arrived the pair claimed that they were in the area on a camping trip, despite carrying only a carton of water and one small bag between them.
Police allege that the pair were in fact there to meet the boatload of illegal immigrants and facilitate their onwards journey into Australia, however the boat was intercepted and never arrived.
Following subsequent investigations the pair were arrested at their homes in the country's east on Tuesday, with investigators also uncovering visa applications on a computer hard drive.
"We know that people smugglers operate across borders and regions in an attempt to promise something they cannot deliver; illegal access to Australia," AFP Commander Crime Coordination Paul Osborne said.
"Our combined focus is to protect the lives and safety of these people, who people smugglers seek to take advantage of, and to secure Australia's borders."
Since the implementation of OSB in 2013, Australia has returned 873 people from 38 people smuggling ventures to their countries of origin or departure, according to AFP figures.
Source: Xinhua News Agency

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