People smugglers could be testing new boating methods to breach Australian borders

Photo: Scott Fisher/Getty Images.

Six Chinese men in a small boat reached an island in the Torres Strait of Queensland this month.

Delivered by an alleged Papua New Guinean people smuggler, they reached Saibai Island, four kilometres from PNG and 150 kilometres north of Queensland, on August 20.

One of the Chinese men and the Papua New Guinean man were arrested and charged with aggravated people smuggling. They appeared in a Cairns court yesterday and were remanded in custody.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports, the other five men have been sent back to China.

It’s a blow to the Turnbull government’s Operation Sovereign Borders, and contradicts the immigration minister’s announcement on Monday that “we’ve not had a successful boat now in well over 1000 days”.

While it’s not yet known what their motivation for heading to Australia was, the tactic could be a sign that people smugglers are adapting their methods following tighter security measures under Operation Sovereign Borders.

The SMH has more.

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