News/Austro-Asia: FED: Conference on people smuggling starts today

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Subject: News/Austro-Asia: FED: Conference on people smuggling starts today
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Nov 17 1999 - 21:06:24 EST


                FED: Conference on people smuggling starts today

AAP 11/6/99 6:06 AM

   SYDNEY, Nov 6 AAP - An international conference on human smuggling
started today as the second boat in a week carrying illegal immigrants was
intercepted off the coast of Western Australia.
   The Council for Security Cooperation in Asia Pacific (CSCAP)organised
the conference in Wollongong with a view to improving information and
intelligence sharing among Asia Pacific nations.
   University of Wollongong Associate Professor and CSCAP working group
co-chairman Sam Bateman said people smuggling was a serious issue in
Australia.
   It was hoped that the Asean countries along with the United States, New
Zealand, Japan and Papua New Guinea would share information, agree on
standard operating procedures and co-operate with surveillance at sea.
   Early on Tuesday, an Indonesian vessel carrying 352 illegal immigrants
mainly from the Middle East, was seized near Ashmore Reef 600 kms north of
Broome.
   Today, another vessel believed to be carrying at least 50 people was
intercepted also off Ashmore Reef.
   Mr Bateman said Australia could never have enough surveillance, but
that the Government had done well to intercept the boats off Ashmore Reef
rather than allowing them to arrive on the east coast of Australia
undetected.
   "We'll identify problems, propose possible solutions and that will go
through the ranks," Mr Bateman told AAP.
   "People smuggling is a serious problem but with illegal immigrants, by
far the greatest number come in through our airports on false papers or
they overstay their visas, but boat people get all the attention.
   The conference, which runs until Tuesday, will also focus on drug
smuggling and other forms of maritime crime.
   AAP sal/it

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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