The police said that another bid by a group of would-be illegal asylum seekers to head to Australia by boat was thwarted last evening in Vakarai.
According to the police media unit 38 men, a woman and two 5 year old children were arrested by the Vakarai police.
The group was preparing to leave for Australia on two small fishing boats. The police seized the boats.
The police said that the people arrested were residents of Trincomalee, Mullaitivu, Vakarai and Chilaw.
Two vans and a three wheeler which were used to transport the people to Vakarai were also seized by the police.
Two drivers were also arrested, the police added. All those who were arrested are to be produced in court today.