#AceNewsReport – AUSTRALIA:June.12: Prime Minister Tony Abbott is refusing to deny claims Australian officials have paid asylum boat crews to turn back to Indonesia, saying the Government will stop the boats “by hook or by crook“.
Australian border officials reportedly handed over thousands of dollars to the captain and crew of a vessel carrying 65 asylum seekers which was intercepted off Java last week.
An Indonesian police chief was quoted as saying the six crew members said they had each been given $US5,000 by Australian officials to turn back.
Their vessel later crashed into a reef near the remote Rote Island.
Indonesia’s foreign ministry later told the ABC Indonesian police were investigating the claims.
“This is endangering life. They were in the middle of the sea, but were pushed back,” foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said.
Mr Abbott said on Friday “creative strategies” had been developed to stop the boats.