Media Release
Minister for Justice and Customs
Senator for Western Australia

12 November 2004

Alleged people smuggler extradited to Australia

Alleged people-smuggler, Masood Ahmed Chaudhry, has arrived in Perth following his extradition from Thailand to face charges over people smuggling offences, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, announced today.

"The joint Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs People-Smuggling Strike Team have worked closely with Thai authorities in the lead-up to Chaudhry's arrest and subsequent extradition," Senator Ellison said.

"This sends a very clear message that Australia and its regional counterparts will work cooperatively and vigorously to pursue alleged people smugglers and bring them to justice," he said.

"This is another example of the excellent relationship the AFP has with their regional law enforcement counterparts."

Chaudhry, a Pakistani national, was brought to Australia following the recent decision of the Thai Government to extradite him. He is wanted in Australia to face two charges under the Migration Act, each punishable by a maximum term of ten years imprisonment.

Chaudhry is alleged to have been involved in organising the passage of a boat from Indonesia to Australia between November 2000 and April 2001 and collecting payments from suspected unlawful non-citizens for this purpose.

Chaudhry's extradition to Australia follows the successful extradition of other alleged people smugglers from Thailand, including Ali Al Jenabi in February 2003 and Hasan Ayoub in July 2003.

Al Jenabi, an Iraqi national, was extradited from Thailand in February 2003 and has been convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. Ayoub, a Pakistani national, was extradited from Thailand in July 2003 and is currently on trial in Perth.

"These extraditions reinforce the Australian Government's commitment to taking all steps possible to ensure those who are accused of organising and facilitating the practice of people smuggling face justice in Australia," Senator Ellison said.

"The Australian Government is grateful for the excellent cooperation and support it has received from Thai authorities in this matter, in particular, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Thai Police."

Media Inquiries: Simon Troeth (02) 6277 7260/(0439) 300 335


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