27 October, 2020

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Sri Lanka Claims Asylum Seekers Are Being Paid

By Tony Eastley/ ABC News –

TONY EASTLEY: There are plenty of stories about asylum seekers paying big money to people smugglers for a place on a boat heading for Australia.

Thisara Samarasinghe

But Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Canberra Thisara Samarasinghe says in his country, the money is flowing the other way and asylum seekers are being paid to make the perilous journey. But he won’t be drawn on who is paying the fares.

In the past month alone, three boats carring Sri Lankan asylum seekers have arrived at the remote Australian Indian Ocean territory of Cocos Islands.

Admiral Samarasinghe says Sri Lankan security services stopped one boat carrying 113 people bound for Australia just three weeks ago.

Admiral Samarasinghe is speaking here to AM’s Ashley Hall.

THISARA SAMARASINGHE: Sri Lanka is continuously focusing on preventing Sri Lankans leaving Sri Lankan shores, headed for either to New Zealand or Australia. And this has been going on for about two and a half years and we have successful in preventing any boat leaving Sri Lanka.

Even the two boats about seven to eight months ago which attempted was prevented by the Sri Lankan navy through their continuous surveillance and continuous employment of efforts, time and money on this issue.

ASHLEY HALL: Who are the people on board these boats? Who’s trying to leave Sri Lanka?

THISARA SAMARASINGHE: Oh they were a mix of people who were persuaded to come over by various organisations who were trying to get them out of Sri Lanka for whatever the reasons that they have.

There were economic concerns and they have been paid…

ASHLEY HALL: They have been paid?

THISARA SAMARASINGHE: Yeah, in the sense they have not paid for the moment and we do not know the exact arrangements, and I would prefer to keep this information with ourselves or with the investigators because they are continuing to stop and that has resulted in the 113 people being stopped before they boarded a vessel.

ASHLEY HALL: But you have evidence that people were paid to get on a vessel and travel to Australia and seek asylum?

THISARA SAMARASINGHE: They have evidence. They have not paid, the racketeers, these human smugglers, these international racket band, they do this for various reasons – for money, for…

ASHLEY HALL: For money – how would they benefit financially out of paying people to pretend to be asylum seekers?

THISARA SAMARASINGHE: No, they get people to come and they will, in a greater network in getting people across and they show various concerns to countries, make some comments on various places.

So Sri Lanka been out of this terrorist conflict over three years now has become a (inaudible) place for people to stay and there is no reason for people to move other than anybody trying to see for better life in any other country for economic reasons.

But Sri Lanka now, after three years of the conflict, this one – they are absolutely (inaudible) for people to leave the- peace prevails in every place, development is taking place, job opportunities are there, unemployment in Sri Lanka.

And you have your high commissioner, Australian, to see the condition, nature of the Sri Lanka at the moment.

TONY EASTLEY: Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canberra, speaking to Ashley Hall.

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Latest comments

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    Just another from the War Criminals Gang who has found himself a job as a Diplomat in the very countries that points the finger at MR. Running with the hare and hunting with the hound eh?

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      Hey Kamini

      While your Masters or Westerners (that you worship and lick feets)point a finger at SL administration, other three fingers are pointing at themselves for the good work thay have been doing in Afgan, Libya and Iraq.

      Show and prove that Admiral as a war crimminal rather than following footsteps of LTTE blood sucking monkeys demonstrated in London.

      For all true Sri Lankans (not the Peelamist like you), tha admiral is a brave son of motherlanka.

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        Mark Beggar or Webber, first brush up your knowledge on English before you start commenting on other’s comments. The plural of foot is feet and not ‘feets’, probably you must be talking through experience of being a good licker. Your assertion of this Admiral to be a brave son of Lanka is pathetic to say the least. To make a categorical statement that the Asylum seekers are being paid, by whom? What happened to Karuna Amman being issued a Passport in the name of Kokila Gunawardene by none other than Gota, must have received money also.

        What happens when you point your finger at us accusing as LTTE sympathisers, where are your other fingers pointing? You can be a dumb idiot, but do not display to the whole world to know you are one.

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    Mr Samarasinghe, how old is your staement regarding Prem Kumar?

    As a diplomat you should think of your credibility

    MR or JR or ALL OTHER RRRRS come and go, but you as an individual or as a SLAS officer ( I hope you are one ) or at least as a naval officer you should show your loyalty. This state educated you independant from your cast.

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    Sri Lankan High Commissioner has not come out with the whole truth for reasons best known to him. Two days ago the Sri Lankan Navy had stopped 53 Sri Lankans,almost all of them Tamils, some sixty nautical miles from Sri Lanka. Another 11 had been arrested in Sri Lanka itself.

    There may be a few professional human smugglers involved but most of those involved in the human trafficking from the Indian coasts to Australia are believed to be former LTTE members. In the days and weeks after LTTE was annihilated in Mullivaikal,many hardcore LTTE intelligence wing members who had access to money are believed to have escaped to India after bribing members of the Sri Lankan members. Some are even believed to have been escorted to safety to India via Bandaranaike International Airport by members of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.The former LTTE members having reached India then started organising journeys to Australia via Indonesia and some even directlty. The modus operandi runs like this. From the LTTE loot money they had in their possession they will first buy trawlers from Indian fishermen and stockpile these with food and fuel for the long trip.In the meabntime,they will send their men to refugee camps in Tami Nadu to recruit more people, particularly women and children, to join the LTTE members in their journey to Australia. They look for women and children to give an appearance that all of them are refugees. They may not charge much in advance but the understanding usually is that they will be paid once they arrive in Australia. Once they reach Australia they telephone their former LTTE colleagues to tell them how good the life is in Australia. More and more join the queue. The boats that were seized on the way to Australia have been few and far between. One reent report said that over 3500 Sri Lankan Tamils reached Australia in the past two years alone. The powerful pro-LTTE lobby provide the services of immigration agents and lawyers to file refugee applications. They even go to the Australian High Court to champion the cause of the LTTE boat people. Some prominent LTTE group members have become members of Australian political parties and lobby on behalf of the LTTE boat people. One female, the daughter of a former President of a Sydney LTTE front organisation, contested for a Senate seat in the last Federal election. Sri Lankan Tamils who came to Australia in the past were mostly professionals and they earned respect from white Australians. Now if you go to Sydney West and visit suburbs like Pendle Hill and Toongabbie you will see on the road black well built Tamil youths roaming about the area. They are held in detention camps only for a few months and they are then let loose into the Tamil community. Australian government pays them handsome living allowances, teach them English and other skills. All these are being paid from the tax collected from hard working Australians. The present Australian government led by Julia Gillard is the most refugee friendly government. The former government only gave the refugees temporary visas but when the Labour came back to power it quickly abolished this and started granting full visas. After two years they are entitled to become Australian citizens. With so much good life in Australia there is no wonder the news spread and more and more Tamils are taking the boats to Australia. There is lot of angst among the white Australians for the present government’s immigration policy and for doing nothing to prevent the boat people coming to Australia. The rush now to come to Australia is because this present government may not last long and Liberal Coalition will come back to power. If the Liberal come back to power the first thing it will do is to stop the boat people coming to Australia.

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      Even if the modus operandi is as you say, what the smugglers are
      doing is establishing their community, as much as a Sinhalese man
      would do under these dreadful circumstances.

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