The Kancheepuram district police on Tuesday foiled an attempt made by a group of Sri Lankan nationals to migrate to Australia by sea.

The police said the group, a majority of whom gave a slip to authorities manning the Sri Lankan Refugee Open Camp area at Subramaniyapuram, Tirunelveli, assembled at the house of Jothiraja of Oothukadu near Wallajahbad, who also came to India from Sri Lanka in 1983 as a refugee and later secured Indian citizenship.

The group had decided to purchase a boat from fishermen in Puducherry and board a ship sailing to Australia this week.

Seventeen persons who had moved to India after 1990 gathered at Jothiraja’s house. Locals who developed suspicion informed the police.

The 11 men in the group and Jothiraja were remanded to judicial custody. The women and children will be sent back to their camps.