Indonesian police have arrested 23 Sri Lankans asylum seekers who were stranded after their boat hit a reef as they tried to reach Australia’s Christmas Island, says an official.

Based on a tip-off from local fishermen, police arrested the 17 men and six women, as well as three children, off an island in Jakarta’s Thousand Islands chain on Monday morning, said senior police officer Bungin Misalayuk.

“They are all Sri Lankan nationals who planned to sail to Christmas Island. Their boat was stranded at Tidung Island,” he said today, adding that the wooden boat’s captain and crew had fled when police arrived at the site.

“They are all in good condition and being held at an immigration detention centre.”

The West Australian

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