Police suspect Kochi human trafficking vessel anchored in Indonesia

Police suspect Kochi human trafficking vessel anchored in Indonesia

Agency News

The fishing vessel involved in human trafficking from Munambam in Kochi is believed to have anchored off Indonesia.

Police suspect that the vessel with over 225 Lankan refugees and Indians, originally headed to Australia and later diverted to New Zealand, moved towards Indonesia and is believed to have anchored near Java Islands owing to shortage of food and fuel.

The boat set sail from Munambam last week and police came to know about the human trafficking incident after abandoned bags were found on the beach and at nearby Kodungallur. Those aboard the vessel had stayed in resorts and hotels at Cherai, close to Munambam, for nearly a month. They include women, children and infants. During this time, they stocked food, medicines and drinking water for their long journey. The boat owners also stockpiled over 10,000 litres of diesel for fuel.

Two persons, including the co-owner of the vessel have been arrested. Police have sought the support of Central agencies for tracing the vessel. The services of international bodies were also being considered. Attempts to trace the family members of those who left the shores were on. One of them was nabbed from Delhi and brought to Kochi for interrogation. The two who masterminded the crime, Sreekanthan and Selavan, are still in hiding.