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Aust.: Media reports re-alleged arrival of Papuans

Media reports re-alleged arrival of Papuans in Australia

Customs Coastwatch has so far found no evidence to confirm media reports that a family of six persons has arrived in Australian waters from Papua.

A spokesman said Customs and other border agencies had conducted extensive inquiries since the first media report was received yesterday, without result.

"These inquiries are ongoing, but so far we have found no evidence to confirm that a group has arrived as reported," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said Coastwatch had been unable to establish the existence of a "Bamboo Island" in the Torres Strait, which media organisations had reported was the location of the family.

"It is worth noting that there are approximately 270 islands in the Torres Strait region, covering an area of some 48,000 square kilometres.

"Coastwatch will continue to undertake surveillance of islands in the Torres Strait area. This activity included a helicopter flight to Deliverance Island earlier today, which did not locate any signs of an unauthorised arrival."

"Coastwatch will remain in close contact with indigenous communities in the Torres Strait and has urged anyone with any relevant information to contact the Customs 24 hour information hotline on 1800 06 1800," the spokesman said.

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