Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Harper Takes Aim at Human Smuggling with Cash and Equipment for Thai Police: Harper Takes Aim at Human Smuggling

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Harper Takes Aim at Human Smuggling with Cash and Equipment for Thai Police: Harper Takes Aim at Human Smuggling

Article excerpt

BANGKOK - Prime Minister Stephen Harper turned the focus from trade to human smuggling on his last day in Thailand.

His government has set aside $12 million over two years to help detect and prevent human smuggling operations.

Roughly $7 million of the new fund will go toward projects in southeast Asia with Thailand being a major beneficiary.

The Royal Thai police force's marine unit will get new communications and navigation equipment, among other support.

"Thailand is an important partner in efforts to reduce human smuggling and terrorism in Southeast Asia," Harper said prior to a tightly controlled tour of the police force's marine dock.

"The support being announced today (Saturday) will help the Thai government make the country safer for its citizens and foreign travellers, and ensure it is not used as a conduit for human smuggling."

Harper toured the flagship of the police marine unit, did not take any questions, and Canadian reporters travelling with him were kept at bay.

In his statement, he suggested the program, known as the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program, could eventually be expanded elsewhere.

The Conservative government says Thailand is both a source and a transit point for illegal migrants who want to make Canada their final destination.

Officials point to the boat carrying roughly 500 Sri Lankan Tamils, which arrived off the B.C. coast in August 2010.

The MV Sun Sea was from Thailand and those aboard claimed refugee status after their transit was arranged by a human smuggling ring.

"Several illegal operations have been blocked and boats have been stopped before they can sail for Canada's shores," Harper said.

At least one other attempted smuggling was broken up before it got underway off Indonesia.

Former Canadian Security Intelligence Director Ward Elcock, Harper's special adviser on the issue, said it's hard to know the full scope of the threat, which is mostly coming from highly-organized groups in Sri Lanka. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.