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Over 100 Chinese boat people removed.



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Media Release

The Hon Philip Ruddock, MP

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

 

MPS 118/99

Over 100 Chinese Boat People Removed

Australia today returned a group of 101 Chinese boat people to Fujian Province, in what is one of the largest rem ovals ever conducted, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, said today.

Making the announcement, Mr Ruddock said that in the past, the largest removal had been a group of 136 to China. He said that in sending such a large group home, he hoped it would show others from the Province that such journeys were pointless.

"The group of 101 returned today is made up of illegal boat people who arrived in late May and early June," said the Minister. "Those involved were to pay organisers up to $36,000 to travel to Australia," said the Minister, "with up to $10,000 paid up front the remainder to be paid by their family in China on their arrival in Australia.

"I hope that the very public return of the group will send a strong message to others that they shouldn't believe the lies peddled by people traffickers, and that Australia is not a soft touch when it comes to illegal boat people.

"The return also shows the level of support and respect that exists between the Australian and Chinese governments, and China's determination to deter the dangerous and futile trade in people smuggling," said the Minister.

Mr Ruddock said a press statement had been released in China announcing the return of the group. He said it clearly spelt out to potential passengers that people who tried to enter Australia illegally would be detained, and that if they had no right to stay, would be sent back.

In addition, the Minister said his department was also introducing recommendations recently made by the Prime Minister's Coastal Surveillance Task Force. He said these included boosting the Department's presence at seven overseas posts and five key airports, as well as work closely with countries such as Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, to help them detect and detain traffickers.

19 August 1999 

Media Inquiries: Catriona Lyons (02) 6277 7860

 

dd 1999-08-27  14:08