The Australian Broadcasting Company’s Four Corners program revealed yesterday that people-smugglers who have fraudulently obtained refugee status are operating inside Australia - and the federal government has been aware of the practice for a long time.
ABC revealed last night that senior people-smugglers and their families were among the thousands of asylum-seekers who had arrived by boat in order to continue their lucrative trade from Australia.
The Australian Federal Police last night declined to say if it was investigating any of the people featured on the program.
But the growth of domestic-based smuggling rackets has long been a concern to law-enforcement agencies.
So far this year, 3700 asylum-seekers have arrived by boat compared with the 4565 that arrived in all of last year.
Tamils are again among the boatpeople arriving following a long hiatus in the Sri Lankan smuggling pipeline.
The security agencies have voiced concerns about funds flowing to the people-smugglers from Sri Lanka's relatively affluent Tamil diaspora.
The Australian government has been advised that members of the Sri Lankan community are engaging in criminal activity to fund the passage of former Tamil Tiger guerillas to Australia by asylum boat.
It is understood the advice from the security agencies related to a credit-card skimming racket operating from Perth involving Sri Lankan Tamils.
The racket was running in 2009 and was estimated to have netted $6.5 million from about 6000 victims.
West Australian Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Anticich said the type of fraud detected was favoured by criminal elements among the Tamil community the world over.