Australia has vowed to stop asylum-seekers reaching its shores, turning boats back to Indonesia when it can and sending asylum-seekers to camps in impoverished Papua New Guinea and Nauru for long-term detention.

This week, media in Australia and Indonesia reported that people-smugglers on a boat carrying 65 asylum-seekers were paid about USD 5,000 each to abandon their journey to Australia and return to Indonesia after being intercepted at sea.

 Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton have both denied the reports, but Abbott has declined to do so, citing operational security.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir told reporters the captain of the asylum-seeker vessel was being detained on charges related to people-smuggling.

Nasir said the captain and his crew told him that they had received USD5,000 per person to turn back the ship, the Investor Daily newspaper on Friday cited Nasir as saying.

Australian coastguard officials blocking the people-smuggling boat put the money in six black plastic bags and handed it over, Nasir quoted the captain as saying.

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