Sri Lankan Police intercepted 89 vessels engaged in human smuggling - IGP | Daily News

Sri Lankan Police intercepted 89 vessels engaged in human smuggling - IGP

Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchinson, Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Rathnayake with IGP N K Illangakoon. Picture by : Thushara Fernando

Sri Lankan Police have intercepted 89 vessels which had engaged in human smuggling since 2009 with the support of the Australian Federal Police and Sri Lanka Navy. More than 4,500 passengers, 250 crew members and 450 facilitators were arrested along with the vessels, Inspector General of Police (IGP) N K Illangakoon said.

In addition, eight criminal syndicates responsible for organizing the venture were also identified and their operations disrupted, he added.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Third Law Enforcement Joint Management Group Conference on People Smuggling held at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, the IGP explained that the current transnational crime trends such as human smuggling, trafficking, exploiting of men, women and children are very likely to bring about adverse social and economic impacts in the region.

The very first interception of a maritime human smuggling venture in Sri Lanka was made in 2009 in Negambo and the popular destination was Australia.

That trend reached to a level of crisis in the year 2012.

Sri Lanka Police have been able to foil 58 attempts of maritime human smuggling in the year 2012, in which 57 vessels were confiscated and more than 4,000 persons, including passengers, organizers, facilitators and crew members being taken into custody, he further added.

The Sri Lanka Police while realizing the gravity of the situation, had tackled the problem at the correct time as it was given top priority in the Sri Lanka Police agenda.

This forum would provide an exposure to Sri Lanka Police for regional law enforcement and also provide a platform for officers of countries in the region to discuss transnational crime issues, specially human smuggling, which was one of the biggest challenges to date for many countries, he said.

Addressing the gathering Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Rathnayake said that forums such as these, provide ample opportunities to share experiences among countries in the region and discuss current trends of transnational crimes in the region and map-out strategies to counter them.

These would serve to strengthen existing partnerships amongst participating countries which would lead to a better, enhanced, coordinated and consorted law enforcement effort in the region, he added.

Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchinson, Law and Order and Southern Development Ministry Secretary Jagath P. Wijeweera, Additional Solicitor General, President's Counsel Yasantha Kodagoda, Australian Federal Police Commander Bruce and Commander Glen MacEwan and officials representing member countries of the Joint Management Group were also present at the ceremony. 


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