Detained asylum-seekers' spokesman 'Alex' a smuggler: Sri Lankan Govt.

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Sydney, Nov 7(ANI): The Sri Lankan Government has said that the leader of a boatload of asylum-seekers held in Indonesia on their way to Australia, Alex, is a known people-smuggler, who had been previously deported from Canada.

Alex is the spokesman for 255 Sri Lankans, whose boat was detained last month and they remain moored at the port of Merak in Java.

"Alex, who led an abortive hunger strike demanding that those on board the boat be granted refugee status, was expelled from Canada in 2003," The Australian quoted a Sri Lankan statement, as saying.Alex had been involved in human-smuggling for a long time and it is believed that his office is based in India. His brother, who is now in Canada, is also involved in human-smuggling and is being sought by Canadian police," the statement added.

Earlier, the Australian Government had said that another known smuggler, Abraham Lauhenaspessy, known as "Captain Bram", had also been found on the boat.

The revelation comes ahead of an expected meeting this week between Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's trouble-shooter on asylum-seekers, John McCarthy, and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

McCarthy will arrive in Colombo on Monday for a series of talks for solution to the refugee crisis. (ANI)

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