The Straits Times
Published on Oct 27, 2012

Sri Lanka arrests asylum seekers deported by Australia


COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan police arrested a group of asylum seekers deported by Canberra today after they allegedly hijacked a fishing vessel to reach Australian shores, with some facing charges of attempted murder.

Fifteen Sri Lankans were picked up by Australian authorities on Thursday north-west of the Cocos Islands in a boat apparently stolen from its owner in Sri Lankan waters two week ago, and Canberra sent 14 of them back today.

Sri Lankan police said the 14 people were arrested at the island's international airport as they disembarked from an Australian government-chartered plane.

"The 14 suspects were... immediately handed over to the police," an official said, adding that they faced several charges including attempted murder, abduction and theft.