Marines arrested for helping illegal immigrants

Garut, West Java province (ANTARA News) - Three personnel of Indonesian Marine Corps (TNI AL) were arrested last Sunday (Nov 17) for allegedly assisting 106 illegal immigrants from Myanmar to pass Indonesian territory and head for Australia.

The arrest was conducted after the local police stopped a convoy consisting of a tourist bus and a mini bus on the road. The 106 immigrants were allegedly on their way to a boat that will bring them straight to Australia through the southern coastal area of Garut district, Indonesia.

"The three personnel are charged with criminal law for allegedly assisting peoples smuggling," Chief of local miltary command Detachment III/2 Lieutenant Collonnel CMP Suparno said here on Monday.

As to the identity of the three marines Suparno denied to reveal it. "They are now under the custody of Marine Base in Bandung city," he said briefly.

Meanwhile the 106 illegal immigrants who identify themselves as the displaced Rohingya tribe from Myanmar are being taken to Police station in Cibalong sub district for further questioning. They will then be transferred to immigration office in Tasikmalaya city.

Indonesia has long been known as the transit country for illegal immigrants heading for Australia. Some Indonesians have taken advantage of this movement of migrants to look for easy money by offering illegal immigrants transportation to reach Australia.

Indonesia has taken some measures to eradicate such peoples smuggling attempt namely tightening the security in the coastal area and close cooperation with Australian government on capacity building and training of personnel on the field. (*)