The police arrested 113 people from Galle Face and Negombo early this morning while they were attempting to go to Australia by boat illegally.
According to the police media unit, six human smugglers were also arrested and vehicles used to transport the would be illegal asylum seekers were also seized.
Initial investigations revealed that the asylum seekers had paid around Rs. 200,000 each for the illegal journey to Australia.
The police said that the people arrested were residents of Chilaw and Negombo. The main suspect involved in the operation is said to be a resident of Chilaw.
The police said that a lorry and seven Dolphin vans were seized during the sting operation this morning.
Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen was in Sri Lanka this month to discuss the issue of illegal asylum seekers.
Most Sri Lankans reach Australia via Indonesia and Australia warned it could soon face a fresh wave of asylum-seeker boats after Indonesia this month removed a number of major source countries including Sri Lanka from its immigration red list.
The move came despite the Indonesian Immigration Office having identified Sri Lanka – along with Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan – as a main source of asylum-seekers heading to Australia by boat. (Colombo Gazette)