Sri Lanka arrests New Zealand-bound boat people
COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan police said on Wednesday they had arrested 75 would-be asylum-seekers trying to leave for New Zealand illegally, including nine women, six children, and a suspected former Tamil Tiger guerrilla.
The group was arrested in the southern coastal town of Moragolla.
It was the first large-scale arrest of nationals in months after Australia, long a favourite destination for Sri Lanka's refugees, tightened its borders.
"These people were trying to leave illegally for New Zealand," a police statement said.