Sri Lanka arrests navy officer suspected of people smuggling
COLOMBO (AFP) - The Sri Lankan police have arrested a navy officer suspected of involvement in smuggling people in fishing boats to Australia, officials said on Saturday.
Australia announced tough new measures in mid-July to discourage illegal boat people. Since then, the local police have apprehended three boats and detained 300 Sri Lankans, including 56 women and 93 children.
The Sri Lankan officer was taken into custody on Friday following the discovery of 73 would-be illegal immigrants in a trawler off the island's southern coast six weeks ago, a police officer said.
Four navy sailors were taken into custody last month following the trawler's interception.