Alleged people smuggler liked cheap girls

A Victorian man has told a court he went to Indonesia for the "cheap, easy" girls, not because he was an alleged people smuggler.

A Victorian man who denied working for an international people-smuggling syndicate told police he travelled to Indonesia only because the girls there are "cheap, easy and they're humble", a jury has heard.

Victorian man Abbas Allami, 39, of Mildura, is accused of working for the syndicate operating between Iraq and Australia in 2013.

Allami, who has pleaded not guilty to aggravated people smuggling, allegedly tried to help a family of six from Iraq enter Australia by boat from Indonesia.

When interviewed by Australian Federal Police in 2014, Allami denied involvement in people smuggling, explaining his trips to Indonesia were "frankly for the girls".

"They're cheap, easy and they're humble," he told officers.

"Also, I have a lot of girlfriends there."

The jury heard transcripts of secretly recorded phone conversations where Allami talked about charging $2500 per person to "move" people to Indonesia.

Allami told federal investigators he met Iraqis while hanging out in cafes in Indonesia and if he saw a struggling family he would give them $100 or $200 "because they are poor".

"Just to help," he said. "They don't have money."

Iraqi refugee Kadhim Al Shareeda earlier gave evidence his family was promised a ride on a comfortable ship to Australia where refugees were welcomed.

"They portrayed it like the Titanic," he said.

"A touristic ship equipped with a GPS, satellite, everything."

Mr Al Shareeda, who fled Iraq to seek safety for his family, said he arranged to pay a smuggling group $US30,000 to get his family from Malaysia to Australia, via Indonesia.

The boat carrying Mr Al Shareeda's family was intercepted by the navy near Christmas Island in December 2013. They have recently been released into community detention in South Australia.

The jury has also heard evidence that Allami talked to an associate about a "route to New Zealand" and finding a smooth talker who could extract money from scared people.

The County Court trial continues on Tuesday.


Source AAP

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