SYDNEY, July 21: Australia said on Sunday it would pay rewards of up to Aus$200,000 for information leading to the conviction of people smugglers, as it defended its tougher approach on asylum-seekers.

Hardline Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Friday announced that refugees arriving on unauthorised boats would have no chance of being resettled in Australia in a bid to stop the rush of asylum-seekers arriving by sea. Instead they will be sent to poverty-stricken Papua New Guinea for processing.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said on Sunday that Australian Federal Police would also pay rewards for the capture of the people smugglers behind the boats and their associates. “These people are peddling in misery and death. We need to shut this market down.”—AFP

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