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 Yogyakarta Police Stepping Up Patrols After Big Migrant Bust

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BerichtOnderwerp: Yogyakarta Police Stepping Up Patrols After Big Migrant Bust    Yogyakarta Police Stepping Up Patrols After Big Migrant Bust  Icon_minitimewo 23 okt 2013 - 5:10

The Jakarta Globe, October 23, 2013

Yogyakarta. Police say they have stepped up patrols of Yogyakarta’s southern coast since the province became a favorite port for Australia-bound migrants.

In last four years, police claim they have captured hundreds of migrants in Gunung Kidul and Bantul districts, though many more have successfully escaped Indonesia to Christmas Island.

Gunung Kidul Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Faried Zulkarnaen told the Jakarta Globe that Gunung Kidul has many secluded beaches hidden from surveillance, with only small number of fisherman in the area. Such beaches are ideal for smugglers to board migrants without attracting attention.

“We are increasing police patrols of the coastline, mostly in remote areas, to prevent further smuggling of people after the capture of 30 asylum seekers at Parang Racuk beach last week,” Faried said.

Police asked fishermen and local residents living near the beaches not to rent out their boats, since smugglers have used them to transport asylum seekers. Fishing boats are the only vessels available that can surreptitiously transport large numbers of people across open ocean.

“Smugglers put the immigrants’ lives at great risk. Wooden fishing boats laden of people are unsteady against the Indian Ocean’s raging tide,” Faried added.

Gunung Kidul police say they arrested 74 asylum seekers from Iran and Afghanistan on Gesing beach one night in October 2010 prior to a planned departure for Christmas Island. Mussa Able, an American alleged to be their would-be smuggler, was also captured.

In April 2011, Gunung Kidul police detained eight immigrants from Iran on Gesing beach. The following month, police identified a large boat off the coast as an immigrant smuggling vessel, though the suspicion remains unconfirmed.

In February 2012, 35 asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan were taken into custody by Bantul Police on Samas beach before dawn.

Between June and July this year, a group of fisherman also admitted to helping transport around 80 asylum seekers.

Last Saturday’s arrest of 30 immigrants from Somalia, Eritrea, Pakistan, and Myanmar in Parang Racuk, near Baron beach, marks the latest bust for Gunung Kidul Police.

Sandika Prayudi and Dani Harmawan were also arrested for their alleged role in the people-smuggling syndicate. Three others remain at large.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said he favors using force if necessary to divert asylum seekers’ boats back to Indonesia, raising questions over sovereignty and rights violations.

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