Chinese asylum seekers to stay in Australia
A group of ten Chinese asylum seekers, which was threatening to sail from Darwin to New Zealand, has decided to seek refuse in Australia instead. After meeting a New Zealand immigration officer on Wednesday and being warned about the dangers of the voyage, the group, which consists of eight adults and two children, allowed themselves to be detained in a converted motel by Australian officials.
The end of this drama came as another two boats carrying 255 asylum seekers were intercepted near Christmas Island. The Australian opposition parties used the incident as an opportunity to accuse the government of failing to protect the country’s borders, adding that people smugglers have made as much as $2.5 million organising boats to Australia.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, solicitor T S Lee, who helped the Chinese group by translating for them, said he also had a part in warning them against making the journey to New Zealand. He claimed that he advised them to stay in “beautiful” Australia or “the crocs will most likely eat them” on their voyage.
Some of the party were part of the spiritual Falun Gong group, which is why they claim they had to leave China. They docked in Darwin this week after arriving in Malaysia the week before.
The group will now be helped by Australia’s Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre as they seek asylum in the country. Chris Bowen, the immigration minister, said is happy they chose to stay in Australia rather than risk the dangerous sea crossing to New Zealand.
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