Refugees seek asylum in Australia

THE 10 Chinese nationals who arrived by boat in Darwin over the weekend have changed their mind and will instead apply for asylum in Australia.

It was not clear what caused the change of heart for the Falun Gong members, a religious group which claims to be persecuted in China, who had initially expressed a desire to seek asylum in New Zealand.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said eight out of the group of 10 had passports.

Mr Bowen said the group had reached the decision to seek asylum in Australia of their own volition.

They will be detained in detention, at the Darwin Airport Lodge, while their claims are processed, he said.

"There are no special arrangements in place for these people," Mr Bowen told Sky News.

Topics:  asylum seekers new zealand

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