People Smugglers Were Paid $560 For Deadly Trip

People smugglers were paid $560 for deadly trip

By Gina Marich
Posted Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:18pm AEDT
Updated Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:24pm AEDT

Two Indonesian people smugglers on board a boat that exploded are likely to get the minimum sentence after pleading guilty in the Northern Territory Supreme Court.

Mohamad Tahir and Beny, both 19, were crew members on board an Indonesian boat that was trying to bring 47 asylum seekers into Australia in April this year.

The boat was at sea for five days before it was intercepted by the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean.

Shortly afterwards there was an explosion on board that left five asylum seekers dead.

The defence for the two men told the court they received about $560 for their role but neither were key players in the people smuggling operation.

The court heard Tahir and Beny came from poor fishing families and were struggling to find work when they were approached to be part of the operation.

The court heard Beny had no idea he might be sent to jail once in Australia.

The people who approached him told him he would be returned to Indonesia once captured.

The court also heard the pair were abandoned by the boat's captain a few days before it was intercepted by the Australian Navy.

They will be sentenced next week.

Justice Dean Mildren indicated they will not get a sentence higher than the minimum penalty of five years' prison with a three year non-parole period.


Map: Darwin 0800
Related Story: Boat blast crew 'abandoned by captain'
Related Story: Asylum seeker started fatal boat fire: police