JAKARTA, Indonesia – Police arrested 72 would-be asylum seekers in Tasikmalaya, West Java as they gathered to attempt the treacherous trip to Australia's Christmas Island early Tuesday (August 6th), local media reported.
They were found on a beach and "were just about to board the ship", Tasikmalaya Police deputy chief Nana Sumarna told Tempo.com, describing them as immigrants from the Middle East.
The asylum seekers, 58 men, 11 women and a 3-year-old child, arrived at Sindangkerta beach in Cipatujah subdistrict in three trucks from Garut, West Java at 4.15am Tuesday morning, Nana said.
Police also arrested eight suspected human traffickers, including the truck drivers.
On July 24th, a Christmas Island-bound boat carrying about 250 people sank off Java's southern coast, killing 15 people, The Jakarta Globe reported.