17 Sep 2008

Five Australians fined for illegal entry in Papua

10:01 pm on 17 September 2008

Five Australians have been fined for entering Indonesia illegally when they landed their lighty aircraft in the remote region of Papua.

The two women and three men flew from Australia in a light aircraft and landed illegally on Friday at Mopah airport in the Merauke district.

The newspaper the Australian quotes Merauke airport chief Herson as saying the fine of around 3000 US dollars was paid by the Australian embassy in Jakarta.

The Australians, who say they were on a private sightseeing trip to the restive eastern province, are being kept under tight police guard at a local hotel.

Merauke immigration office chief Freddy Manus says they are still being questioned.

Indonesia clamps tight restrictions on travel to Papua, and journalists without special permits are barred from the region.