26 September 2023

Aussie drones to catch Sri Lankan smugglers

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The Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police have teamed up to support the Sri Lankan Police establish an aerial drone surveillance capability to help prevent maritime people smuggling.

Commander, Joint Agency Task Force, Rear Admiral Mark Hill gifted the Sri Lankan Police five aerial drones to support crime fighting in Sri Lanka at a virtual ceremony last week (9 April).

Rear Admiral Hill said the drones would be used in a wide range of activities, including natural disaster scene assessment and recovery; transnational crime investigation; and to counter maritime people smuggling.

“Working together, Australia and Sri Lanka send a strong message that people smugglers and potential illegal immigrants considering illegal travel to Australia by boat have zero chance of success,” Rear Admiral Hill said.

“The threat of maritime people smuggling continues as people smugglers find different ways to exploit vulnerable people,” he said.

Senior Officer Sri Lanka at AFP, Rob Wilson said the new drones could be used in a range of ways to enhance the operational capabilities of Sri Lankan Police.

“These drone[s] will provide a strong capability boost to help identify people smuggling ventures in otherwise hard to access areas, while also providing assistance for search and rescue operations, surveillance and crime scene observation,” SO Wilson said.

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