Australia has sent five Chinese men home after an alleged people-smuggling boat was intercepted in a strait bordering Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Two others on board, a Chinese man and a PNG man, were charged with people smuggling, Australian authorities said.
The boat made it to land on Australia’s Saibai Island, 4km (2.5 miles) from PNG, on 20 August, local media said.
On Monday, Australia’s immigration minister said no smugglers had reached the nation in “well over 1,000 days”.
In a statement on Wednesday, immigration authorities said the Chinese men had been “attempting to illegally enter Australia” in the Torres Strait. It did not make clear whether they had reached land.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp reported that no-one on board had made a claim for asylum.
Australia has tough and often controversial border policies, including holding asylum seekers who arrive by boat in offshore detention centres and turning back suspected people-smuggling vessels.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said …