Eight Chi­nese charged over Aus­tralia drug smug­gling

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Eight Chi­nese na­tion­als have been charged with smug­gling drugs us­ing a large com­mer­cial ves­sel, Aus­tralian po­lice said yes­ter­day, af­ter their boat was seized off the coun­try’s coast.

Ten crew mem­bers, all Chi­nese men, were ar­rested af­ter navy per­son­nel boarded the 50-me­tre (164-foot) boat on De­cem­ber 12 and brought it to a port in Ho­bart in the south­ern is­land state of Tas­ma­nia four days later.

Eight of them were “charged with ‘at­tempt to im­port a com­mer­cial quan­tity of bor­der con­trolled drug’” and ap­peared in Ho­bart Mag­is­trates Court Sun­day, a Tas­ma­nia Po­lice spokes­woman told AFP. The other two were yet to be charged, she added.

The Aus­tralian Bor­der Force said Fri­day the ves­sel was boarded af­ter it was spot­ted be­hav­ing sus­pi­ciously by an ae­rial pa­trol and tracked as it moved down na­tion’s west coast, across the Great Aus­tralian Bight and to­wards the coast­line of Tas­ma­nia.

The al­leged type and amount of drugs on board were yet to be be­ing de­ter­mined as the boat was still be­ing searched. The eight men did not en­ter a plea, did not ap­ply for bail and were due back in court next month, the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion re­ported.

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