SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian authorities are searching for 50 athletes and officials missing a month after the Commonwealth Games ended in the host city of the Gold Coast while another 190 are seeking asylum, the country’s home affairs minister said on yesterday.
Minister Peter Dutton told reporters in Canberra an operation had been organised to find the 50 people and “take them into immigration detention and eventually to deport them”.
He said another 190 people had sought protection visas, a class of visa in Australia assigned to refugees. Fifteen more have applied for other types of visas.
While some participants at major international sporting events overstay their visas or seek asylum in the host countries, the number of claims in Australia following this year’s Commonwealth Games, held on April 4-15, is high.
Participants who went missing or sought refuge at previous Commonwealth Games, such as those held in Melbourne in 2006 and Manchester in 2002 and Glasgow in 2014, typically numbered in the dozens, not hundreds, according to government statements at the time.