Tanker smuggling migrants intercepted en route to New Zealand

Malaysian Police say the tanker was carrying 131 Sri Lankans headed for New Zealand and Australia. Picture: RNZ/Royal Malaysia Police

MALAYSIAN Police have intercepted human traffickers they say modified a tanker to smuggle undocumented migrants to New Zealand and Australia.
Authorities said the tanker was carrying 131 Sri Lankans when it was intercepted on Tuesday early this week.
There were 98 men, 24 women, four boys and five girls.
The Singapore-based ChannelNewsAsia reports the tanker had the name Etra painted on its side.
Three Indonesians and four Malaysians on a fishing boat used to transport the migrants to the vessel were also arrested.
Malaysia’s national Police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the large-scale and cunning human smuggling syndicate had been operating for a year and had connections in New Zealand, as well as in Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

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