Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities on Saturday arrested 14 illegal immigrants accused of hijacking a fishing trawler, after they were deported by Australia.
The immigrants about whom the Interpol had been alerted, arrived at the Colombo international airport on a charter flight arranged by Australia.
"They were arrested by the CID after immigration investigations and handed over to the Matara police", police spokesman Prishantha Jayakodi said.
On October 14, five fishermen on a trawler was believed to have faced a pirates attack, off Sri Lanka`s southern coast.
Later it was revealed that the hijacking of the trawler was a planned attack carried out by unscrupulous migration scam operators.
Three of the fishermen were found missing while two of them badly injured were rescued mid-sea by a merchant vessel.
The local police alerted the Interpol after details emerged that the hijacking of the trawler was part of the immigration scam of sending asylum seekers to Australia.
"We have been told that they were intercepted by Australian authorities on Thursday" a police spokesman said.
Police say they have arrested over 1,000 people since the beginning of the year for trying to leave Sri Lanka for Australia on board fishing trawlers.