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Cablegate: Eastern Indonesia: Afghans Bound for Australia Detained In

VZCZCXRO9729
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0068 1551016
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031016Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0226
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0212
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0120
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY 0003
RUEHBN/AMCONSUL MELBOURNE 0001
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0003
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0118
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0001
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0011
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0231

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000068

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, G/TIP, DRL/ILCSR
BANGKOK FOR INL REFUGEE OFFICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF SMIG PREL ELAB KCRM KWMN ID
SUBJECT: EASTERN INDONESIA: AFGHANS BOUND FOR AUSTRALIA DETAINED IN
WEST TIMOR

REF: Jakarta 451 (Surabaya 002)

This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Local police arrested seven Afghan nationals
near Kupang, West Timor, for immigration violations. According
to the police, the Afghans claimed they felt threatened in
Afghanistan and intended to enter Australia via boat from Roti
Island. All seven reportedly entered on valid Indonesian
tourist visas and valid Afghan passports. Police in Kupang
arrest foreigners enroute to Australia every couple of weeks.
As a result, local officials have developed "good cooperation"
with the Australian Police Force (AFP) and International
Organization for Migration (IOM). According to AFP, these
illegal immigrants often work with Malaysian smugglers, who
demand 50 percent payment upfront. AFP is not aware of any
recent successful crossings from West Timor, as foreigners
standout among the local population and are easily detained.
End Summary.

Jakarta-Bali-Kupang-Australia
-------------------------------

2. (SBU) Local press articles reported June 3 that Kupang police
had arrested seven Afghan nationals in Tablolong, a district
located 30 kms west of Kupang city, for immigration violations.
Kupang police sources told ConGen Surabaya that the seven men,
aged 20-30, entered Indonesia on valid 30-day Indonesian tourist
visas and valid Afghan passports. (Note: It is unclear where
the visas were issued. Afghan nationals are not illegible to
purchase visas on arrival in Indonesia.) The seven Afghans
reportedly traveled to West Timor from Jakarta via Bali. They
told the police that they felt threatened in Afghanistan and
planned to travel to Australia via a rented boat from Roti
Island. The Kupang police told us that they had already
coordinated with the Immigration Office and Australian Police to
deport the seven back to Afghanistan.

3. (SBU) The Nusa Tenggara Timor (NTT) provincial police told
ConGen Surabaya that such arrests are commonplace. Every couple
of weeks, the Kupang police arrest foreigners, especially from
Afghanistan, who are trying to reach Australia by transiting
Indonesia. IOM officials in Surabaya told us that IOM regularly
assists migrants arrested in Indonesia following a request from
Indonesian immigration. IOM said that the numbers of would-be
migrants had decreased since 2001/2002, when groups numbering in
the hundreds tried to transit Indonesia, due to improved
enforcement and coordination between agencies. Today, these
illegal immigrants travel in small groups or as individuals in
an effort to avoid detection.

Australian-Indonesian Cooperation
------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The AFP representative in Australia's Consulate in Bali
confirmed that this case is typical. Illegal immigrants are
generally smuggled by Malaysian networks, who demand half the
money upfront. The remaining fee is apparently due upon safe
arrival in Australia. While smuggling attempts along this route
are not uncommon, success is rare to unknown. Foreigners stick
out among the local population from the moment they arrive, and
detention is almost certain. The AFP representative surmised
prospective immigrants were giving their money to smuggling
networks with little real hope of getting into Australia.

5. (SBU) AFP expects an increase in attempts now that the
cyclone season has ended and the seas between Indonesia and
Australia are approaching their post-cyclone season calm. While
these seven Afghans reportedly transited Bali, the AFP has no
information on Afghans who have stopped long-term in Bali or
requested asylum at the Australian Consulate there. For reasons
that are unclear, these immigrants appear intent on reaching
Australia via boat. The Bali-based AFP representative added
that AFP cooperation with the police in Kupang was excellent,
and AFP traveled to West Timor regularly providing training and
other assistance (reftel).

MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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