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Colombo, Sri Lanka -
Sri Lanka's navy says it has intercepted a fishing boat that was carrying 43 people illegally to Australia.
The navy says patrol craft intercepted the trawler about 37 kilometres off Sri Lanka's western coast on Tuesday. The passengers -all Sri Lankans - were handed over to police.
It is illegal in Sri Lanka to leave from unauthorised ports. The maximum sentence is five years in prison.
Already this year, Sri Lankan authorities have arrested 600 Australia-bound Sri Lankans, Indians, Pakistanis and Afghans.
The latest detentions come as Australia's Parliament debates tough new legislation aimed at deterring a flood of asylum seekers making perilous sea journeys to the country's shores. - Sapa-AP