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thoroughly vet asylum seekers


  1. The following story highlights the reason why asylum seeking refugees need to be thoroughly vetted before being accepted into Australia.



    http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/world/story/0,4386,165309,00.html?

    JAN 10, 2003
    London poison duo posed as refugees
    Scotland Yard says arrested Algerian teenagers set up a deadly poison factory in their rent-free London council flat.

    By Alfred Lee
    STRAITS TIMES EUROPE BUREAU

    LONDON - Two Algerians suspected of plotting a biological attack in Britain using the deadly toxin ricin posed as asylum seekers to obtain a rent-free council flat which they turned into a poison factory.

    As refugees, they were allowed to stay free of charge in the two-bedroom flat which would normally command a rent of more than £400 ($1,100). They also were given £37 a week to cover living expenses and free medical care.

    Scotland Yard police believe the Algerians, both aged 17, posed as asylum seekers to cover up the real reason for their presence in London - to make ricin and launch a terrorist attack.

    Far from being destitute, one of the Algerians owned a car and both had cellphones and Visa cards with sizeable credit limits. One of the teenagers had recently travelled to Paris by Eurostar train, through the English Channel tunnel.

    The pair were arrested after heavily-armed police raided their flat in north London. One had an Ethiopian passport but Scotland Yard quickly discovered this was fake and that both teenagers had been born in Algeria.

    The arrest of the Algerians and four others living in different flats followed information received from French intelligence, after the arrest last month of nine North Africans suspected of having strong links to Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terrorist network. One of the men arrested in Paris had a chemical protection suit.

    A seventh man, aged 33, has now been arrested in London and is being questioned about the manufacture of ricin in the north London flat.

    Scotland Yard and intelligence agents have intensified their search for other people with links to the seven arrested so far - and for phials of ricin believed to have been made by the terror suspects.

    Scientists found traces of the toxin in beakers, test tubes and other containers in the north London flat, but the ricin was missing.

    Under questioning, one of those arrested has supplied the names of two men. The other six terror suspects have remained tight-lipped.

    All have refused to say how much ricin was produced.

    The number of armed security guards around Prime Minister Tony Blair and other government ministers has been increased because of the missing ricin.

    The poison is extracted from castor oil beans and there is no antidote. Although people can recover from exposure, death usually comes within three days, after excruciating pain.

    The poison can be loaded into a pressurised can and squirted into the face of a victim or freeze-dried into a dry powder and blown towards a target.

    Doctors and hospitals have been told to look out for the flu-like symptoms of ricin poisoning, which include fever, stomach upsets and coughing.

    Government appeals to London Underground train travellers, shoppers and all other members of the public to be on alert for anything suspicious were repeated in the media.

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