'Desperate' Asylum Seekers Targets New Zealand Since Australia is 'Closed'

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By Reissa Su | May 26, 2014 4:29 PM EST

Desperate asylum seekers have set their sights in New Zealand. Eight cars full of asylum seekers in Cisarua were heading for the coast when they were intercepted by the Indonesian police.

According to reports, the people smugglers believed they had paid off the police but the asylum seekers were still discovered. The 50 asylum seekers on board were promised a ride in a waiting boat bound for New Zealand.

People smuggling has been going on for years but the danger has escalated and became immeasurably dangerous, according to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald. Asylum seekers are usually a mix of Indians, Pakistanis, Afghans and Bangladeshis. They have no intention of travelling to Christmas Island but were prepared to go on a journey across one of the world's most dangerous oceans to reach New Zealand.

In an interview, New Zealand ambassador to Indonesia, David Taylor, said no one has ever arrived in New Zealand in leaky boats in modern times. He said Australia's eastern coast is on one side while on the other side is the Indian Ocean. Taylor said, the seas can be very "fickle" so the trip via boats is a "a pipe dream."

However, people smugglers in Cisarua and other locations have promoted the boat as "safe." Reports said passengers were waiting for weeks in a villa until the day they were supposed to leave. They were promised a safe boat. The people smugglers had shown them pictures and videos of the boat with two large engines and provisions.

According to reports, more than 10,000 asylum seekers are currently waiting in Indonesia as 100 more people arrive every week.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said people smugglers attempting to bring 50 asylum seekers by boat in the country was no surprise but only a confirmation of government intelligent reports. In reaction to the latest asylum seeker attempt to enter New Zealand, Mr Key said the issue is a concern but it no longer surprises the government. 

He said while it would be a difficult journey due to treacherous waters, asylum seekers were targeting New Zealand since Australia was viewed as "closed."

Under the country's immigration laws, asylum seekers who arrive in large groups will be detained for up to six months.  

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