News National Navy intercepts five people smuggled to Australia by boat

Navy intercepts five people smuggled to Australia by boat

HMAS Parramatta
The Australian Federal Police have charged two men with aggravated people smuggling. Photo: ADF
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A people smuggling boat has made it to an island in the Torres Strait, just weeks after the Government boasted of the success of its Sovereign Borders Operation.

It was the first smuggler’s boat to make it to land in Australia in more than three years.

The vessel was carrying six Chinese nationals and a man from Papua New Guinea.

The Immigration Minister’s office says no one on board made a claim of asylum.

The boat allegedly reached Saibai Island, in the Torres Strait, on August 20.

“I understand that they are before the court,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

“We have very good border security strategies in place and these people were detected.”

Ms Bishop denied it represented a new wave of asylum seekers.

A 40-year-old Chinese man and a 52-year-old man from Papua New Guinea have been charged with aggravated people smuggling.

They appeared in court in Cairns yesterday and have been remanded to appear again next month.

Five people have been returned to China.

Saibai Island resident Yakl Ftepes believes she saw some of the men handcuffed and being questioned by officials.

“Two [officials] were questioning an Asian, and one was I think with a PNG national,” Ms Ftepes said.

“Some community members were watching and staring at them.”