People smugglers are selling asylum seekers passports and Australian visas for entry to the country by plane – offering them an alternative to a potentially deadly boat journey.
The ABC’s Four Corners reported that it secretly filmed people smuggler Abu Tarek in Malaysia talking about the deal.
The Iraqi man tells a potential customer that for $16,000 they get a passport with an Australia visa.
“The passport is from Oman or Bahrain, they get the Bahrain passport with the Australia visa in it, both official – not fake,” he said in a conversational secretly recorded by the ABC’s Four Corners.
“They use the passport to fly there and when they arrive safely, they tear it up and enter the country (Australia).”
He tells the person that when they enter the country they can then apply for refugee status.
His business partner Abu Saleh, also from Iraq, is accused of running his people smuggling business from an Indonesian prison with the help of corrupt prison officials.
One asylum seeker who dealt with him while he was in prison said he was “like a king”.
“You’d think it was a hotel. I went in there and sat down. It’s as if the man is not in jail. Like he’s outside, working, and doing well,” another one said.
Saleh is accused of organising the boat which sank off the coast of Java, killing 44 asylum seekers, including 18 children, in late September, while he was in prison.