Sri Lanka arrests 103 heading for Oz

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IOL pic july5 australia asylum-seekers Associated Press This photograph, released by the Indonesian National Search And Rescue Agency, shows the wooden boat drifting in the waters off Australia's Christmas Island.

Colombo, Sri Lanka -

Sri Lanka's navy says it has arrested 103 men who were attempting to migrate to Australia illegally in three fishing trawlers.

A navy statement said on Tuesday that two trawlers were intercepted on Monday off the island's western coast and another detained off the eastern coast.

It says those arrested were Sri Lankan men. They have been handed over to police who are investigating.

It is an offense under Sri Lankan law to leave the country through unauthorized ports. Those who do can receive a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Already this year, police have arrested 600 Australia-bound Sri Lankans, Indians, Pakistanis and Afghans in Sri Lankan waters. - Sapa-AP

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