The Mangalore City and Dakshina Kannada police on Friday stopped the illegal migration of 88 Sri Lankan refugees to Australia in a boat from the Old Port here. The police have arrested five persons for their alleged involvement in human trafficking.

This is the second time in the last one year that the police have foiled an attempt to illegally transport Sri Lankan refugees from Mangalore. On September 8, 2012, the police prevented the illegal migration to Australia of 84 Tamilians, including 54 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, from the Old Port. Among those persons rescued on Friday were some who attempted to migrate in September 2012, the police said.

The police have arrested five persons including Tavarasan, a member of Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation who was arrested last time round as well and had been released on bail. The other accused are Doringtan from the Sri Lankan Refugee Camp in Tiruvallur, Kartikeyan from the refugee camp in Mandapam, Nixon and Kannan, both natives of Tiruvallur, who have been in Mangalore for the last few years. The police said Nixon and Kannan have arranged to purchase the boat for Rs. 18 lakh.

The police have recovered Rs.25,000 in cash, five mobile phones and some identity cards carried by the accused. The refugees had paid amounts ranging between Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1 lakh towards expenses.

Attempt at Aluva

Staff Reporter adds from Kochi:

Ten Sri Lankans were stopped here and arrested by Aluva Police while attempting to migrate to Australia illegally.

The Sri Lankan group came from various refugee camps at Madurai, Salem, Erode and Vilupuram. It is learnt that they were made to pay amounts up to Rs. one lakh and the agent, allegedly from Tamil Nadu, asked them to come over to Aluva and wait for the pick-up, said Ernakulam Rural SP Satish Binoo. Acting on a tip-off, the police picked up the group from a lodge at Aluva on Thursday. The modus was to put the group in a smaller boat or dinghy and transfer them to bigger ones at high sea. They were to have been will be off-loaded along the coast of Australia and left on to their own.

“There are no specific plans and it keeps changing,” said Mr. Binoo. Those picked up on Thursday were charged with attempting to immigrate without valid documents and produced before the court.