TORONTO - A computer storing the names of hundreds of Tamils who arrived in Canada last month has been stolen from the Toronto office of a group that is helping them stay in touch with their families in Sri Lanka, a spokesman for the group said Sunday.
David Poopalapillai of The Canadian Tamil Congress said someone broke into the office sometime on Saturday night and stole a computer, which stored information on the nearly 500 Tamil migrants whose identities are subject to a publication ban ordered by the Immigration and Refugee Board.
"That's been stolen, that's been taken away and we're quite, quite concerned," said Poopalapillai.
"We're very much worried about the families' safety and security back in Sri Lanka."
Toronto Police have confirmed that there were signs of forced entry at 31 Progress Avenue, and said "a quantity of equipment" was taken from the office.
Poopalapillai said it was a "targeted attack," because other computers and a flat screen TV were left behind.
The group was in contact with the migrants as they arrived in Canada, and have been trying to help them keep in touch with their loved ones in Sri Lanka.
"Our job now is to find these families and call them and let them know," said Poopalapillai.
The migrants arrived in Victoria, B.C. from Sri Lanka aboard the MV Sun Sea on Aug. 13. They were shipped to detention facilities in the Vancouver area shortly after.
Detention review hearings have been underway to determine whether the Canadian Border Service Agency is allowed to hold the migrants in custody until their refugee claims are heard.
The RCMP is trying to determine whether human smugglers or members of the banned terrorist organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), are among the group. LTTE lost a 26-year civil war against Sri Lanka's government last year.