Navy nets 51 illegal immigrants

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A search operation conducted by the Navy in Eastern waters yesterday (3) led to the seizure of a local multi-day fishing trawler carrying 51 persons, who were suspected to be illegal immigrants.

The Navy conducts regular operations covering the sea and coastal areas to crack down on illegal migration and other illegal activities. In the search operation conducted in waters off Trincomalee last morning, the Eastern Naval Command managed to intercept a suspicious local multi-day fishing trawler carrying this group of people who were suspected to be illegally leaving the island. Among the arrested individuals were 41 males including six persons involved in this racket, 5 females and 5 children. The fishing vessel was detained.

The suspects held in this operation are residents of Jaffna, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara, Gampaha and Ratnapura, aged 5-56. They will be handed over to the Trincomalee Harbour Police for onward legal action.

Meanwhile, a coordinated operation conducted by the Navy, Sri Lanka Coast Guard, and Police in Marawila on 2 July, resulted in the arrest of 24 individuals, who were suspected to be illegal immigrants. They were arrested while staying at a lodge in the locality, waiting to flee by sea. The group consisted of 8 males, 6 females, and 10 children. The lodge keeper was arrested. The arrested persons, aged three months to 50, are residents of Batticaloa, Valaichchenai, and Chilaw. They were handed over to the Marawila Police for onward legal action.

To make fast money, smugglers cheat the innocent and organise these kinds of trips utilising unsafe vessels. As such, the Navy urges the public not to risk their lives by engaging in perilous sea voyages.