The police and navy today busted two attempts by a group of people who tried to head to Australia by boat illegally from Chilaw and via Kalkuda.
According to the police, 22 people including two suspected human smugglers, were arrested when they were travelling in three wheelers in Chilaw.
Of those arrested 18 were from Mullaitivu and Jaffna, the police said adding that they had paid huge sums of money for the illegal journey to Australia.
The would-be illegal asylum seekers were staying at a lodge in Chilaw from where they were preparing to board a boat to Australia.
Meanwhile the Navy arrested 109 people while they had set out to sea in Kalkuda and were heading to Australia.
The over-crowded trawler named “Sewandi Duwa”, with a large amount of dry rations and personal belongings stacked inside, was detected by a Fast Naval Patrol Craft attached to the Eastern Naval Command.
Just last week the navy seized a fishing boat with 41 people onboard off Trincomalee while it was heading to Australia.
Also last week the navy seized two fishing trawlers transporting at least 82 would-be asylum seekers heading to Australia.
One boat had 39 people on board while the other carried 43. Those taken into custody included two women and two children.