The police on Monday arrested 150 Afghan and Pakistani nationals who planned to take a dangerous boat trip to Australia, a police chief said.
Sonson Sudarsono, the chief of criminal investigations, said 148 men and two women were nabbed in a housing complex in Babakan Madang, Bogor district, some 60 kilometers south of Jakarta.
“They arrived in the housing complex on Sunday evening. They intended to stay there for a while before travelling by boat to Australia,” he told AFP, adding that the police had received a tip-off from local residents before the arrests.
He said preliminary police investigations suggested the migrants planned to take a boat from Pelabuhan Ratu beach in a neighbouring district.
Australia is struggling to deal with a steady influx of asylum seekers arriving by boat, with many using Indonesia as a transit hub, boarding leaky wooden vessels there after fleeing countries such as Afghanistan and Iran.
The latest boat, carrying 60 asylum seekers, arrived on Australia’s remote Christmas Island on Sunday. It was the third to land in two days. Some 300 asylum seekers have died en route to Australia in the last seven months.