Australians Fined for Illegal Entry in Papua
JAKARTA ~ The authorities have fined the Australian pilots of an aircraft that landed illegally in remote Papua province, officials said on Wednesday.
Five Australians – two women and three men – flew from Australia in a light aircraft and landed illegally on Friday at Mopah airport in the Merauke district of Papua.
Merauke airport chief Herson said the Rp28.6-million (US$3,000) fine was paid by the Australian embassy in Jakarta.
“We impose an administrative penalty for any illegal flight in Indonesian territory,” he said.
The Australians, who say they were on a private sightseeing trip to the restive eastern province, were being kept under tight police guard at a local hotel.
“They are still being questioned today,” Merauke immigration office chief Freddy Manus said.
Indonesia clamps tight restrictions on travel to Papua, where a small guerrilla force has been waging a low-level separatist insurgency since the 1960s. Journalists without special permits are barred from the region.