Border Security

Illegal Chinese boat in turnback

June 17, 2024

Monday 17 June 2024
Clare Armstrong
Courier Mail

 Nine Chinese citizens trying to reach Australia by boat have been pushed back  into Indonesian waters by the Australian Border Force.
 The group travelling with three Indonesian crew members were rescued by  fishermen off the south coast of Java and later told local authorities they  had been turned back after being held at sea by an Australian navy boat for  five days, according to the Australian.
 The Chinese nationals reportedly told Indonesian police their boat had become  disabled and was drifting about 65km off Java when they were rescued and  returned to Pelabuhan Ratu on Saturday.
 A spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil declined to comment.
 "As is longstanding practice, we don't confirm or comment on operational  matters," he said.
 It is the fourth known attempt by groups of Chinese people trying to reach  Australia by boat this year.
 In April, a group of 10 Chinese nationals reached the mainland, and a group  of six more travelling with six smugglers were intercepted by Indonesian  authorities attempting to make it to Australia.
 Indonesian media reported in May two Chinese nationals almost made land near  Darwin before they were put on a boat and sent back to Indonesia.
 Opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson said the latest attempted  boat arrival was a test of the government's border policies.
 "Our borders continue to be tested by people smugglers because of the  Albanese government's weakness and incompetence," he said.
 "Labor must urgently restore maritime patrol days and aerial surveillance  back to levels seen under the previous government and reintroduce temporary  protection visas as a deterrent to these attempted arrivals." In May,  three other boats arrived in Australian waters, including a group of four  asylum seekers believed to be from Vietnam, while 33 suspected asylum seekers  were found on Christmas Island after their boat was damaged.

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