19 Oct 2009

Three more charged with people-smuggling

6:45 pm on 19 October 2009

Three Indonesian men were due to appear in court in Perth on Monday charged with people-smuggling offences.

The Australian federal police allege that the three men crewed two separate vessels as part of an attempt to smuggle 146 passengers into Australia.

Four other Indonesian nationals appeared in court on Friday on people-smuggling charges in relation to the same alleged offences.

The seven men were allegedly the crew members of two separate vessels that arrived in Australia on 12 September.

They face up to 20 years' imprisonment or a $260,000 fine if found guilty.

Crew member confirmed as people-smuggler

Earlier, Sri Lankan asylum-seekers still on board a boat intercepted by Indonesian authorities confirmed that one of their Indonesian crew members is a well-known people-smuggler.

The man, known as Abraham Lauhenapessy or Captain Bram, is believed to be responsible for smuggling 1,500 people to Australia since 1999, the ABC reports.

He is among the six Indonesian crew members detained in western Java for attempting to smuggle 255 asylum-seekers to Australia.

The asylum-seekers say they will not leave their boat, moored at the port of Merak, until visited by a representative of the UN's refugee agency.