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Scary overseas murder statistic

FROM terror attacks to barfights or shootings on the street, almost one Australian is murdered overseas every week, while dozens more are arrested for criminal or immigration matters.

A report on Australia’s recent consular assistance, released on Thursday, reveals 49 Australians were murdered overseas in the financial year ending June 30.

High-profile cases involving Australians in the past year include Kirsty Boden and Sara Zelenak, who died in the London Bridge terror attack, and Darwin man Matthew Bate, who died in a San Francisco barfight.

Sydney yoga teacher Justine Damond was killed in July when she was shot by a police officer in Minneapolis.

A month later, seven-year-old Julian Cadman was fatally run down in the Las Ramblas terror attack in Spain.

Sexual assaults increased in 2016/17 with 142 Australians requesting consular assistance, compared to 136 in the previous year.

Overall, 1653 Australians died overseas with close to half due to illness or natural causes.

For almost every Australian who dies overseas, another is detained for criminal or immigration matters.

Three-quarters of the 1641 people who sought consular assistance in 2016/17 after being detained had landed in legal trouble.

Arrests in the US increased by 9 per cent to 285, with two in five due to immigration issues.

Australians are increasingly finding themselves behind bars in China and the United Arab Emirates fuelling a jump in total arrests.

The report also shows the tiny French territory of New Caledonia has become one of the most common places for Australians to fall seriously ill.

Australians made more than 10 million trips overseas in the year to June — an average of 27,500 every day, according to Consular State of Play. New Zealand was the most popular destination with 1.32 million trips, more than twice as many as the UK.

While few needed consular assistance, the foreign affairs department DFAT dealt with 1653 deaths of a total of 12,454 cases throughout the year.

Thailand remained the leading place overseas for Australians to take their last breath with 203 deaths, followed by 126 in the Philippines, while around 100 people died in Indonesia, the US and Vietnam.

“The Australian government cannot do everything for you if get into trouble,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

“We can’t get you out of jail, we can’t pay your medical bills but we can provide support and assistance.”

Calls for assistance from hospitals in New Caledonia leapt by a third in the past year, with 103 people phone for help from the tiny Pacific island, rivalling the number from the US (117).

The report links the surge to the growing popularity of cruise tourism in the Pacific, with an older demographic more vulnerable to illness or accident.

However, Thailand, which has half a million Australian visitors every year, was the main place for hospital admissions requiring consular assistance with almost 200 cases.

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