Indonesia arrests 107 Sri Lankan illegal immigrants

JAKARTA, June 10, 2006 (AFP) – Indonesian officials Saturday said they have arrested more than 100 illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka in the latest crackdown on human trafficking. A total of 107 Sri Lankan men were detained when immigration officials raided two houses Thursday in the resort town of Cisarua, said Muhammad Indra, a director with Indonesia’s immigration department.

He said all of the men had entered Indonesia last month on “business visas that were improperly obtained” through gangsters in Colombo and Jakarta.

“We believe they were brought in by a human trafficking syndicate which targets Indonesia as either a transit country or a final destination. We are going to get into the bottom of this,” Indra told AFP.

He described all the men as “jobless individuals who have no clear purpose to visit” Indonesia.

He also said police and immigration officials were searching for 43 other men who were not at the houses during the raids.

S. Pirabakarn, one of the illegal immigrants, was quoted by the daily Kompas newspaper as saying that he had obtained his visa “legally” from the Indonesian embassy in Colombo. Pirakabarn said he had fled Sri Lanka after an up