Thailand arrests 3 men connected to LTTE and al Qaeda

Three Rohingya men of Thailand have been arrested and found to have been involved in arms trade with the Tamil Eelam rebels in Sri Lanka and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, The Bangkok Post reported yesterday.

Full text of the BP story: Security authorities have arrested three Rohingya allegedly involved in passport forgery and human and weapons trafficking, and said to be linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka and insurgents in the far South.

They were also suspected of being connected with al-Qaeda terrorists.

The arrest of Mohammad Ali Hussein, Mohammad Mudbahem and Chubri Awae followed a joint operation between the Department of Special Investigation, armed forces and immigration police.

Mr Mohammad Ali was arrested on Monday at his Thai wife’s house in Chaiyaphum’s Kaset Sombun district after he sneaked into Thailand early this month. His former aide, Mr Mohammad Mudbahem, was nabbed in Songkhla’s Hat Yai district on the same day. The date and place where Mr Chubri was caught remained unclear.

Mr Mohammad Ali was alleged to be the leader of a transnational gang trafficking illegal migrant workers to a third country through Thailand and forging and supplying fake passports, DSI chief Pol Col Thawee Sodsong said.

He was also said to be a war weapons broker who did business with the Tamil Tigers and human traffickers, Pol Col Thawee said. His stronghold was in Hat Yai before moving to Bangkok. He also allegedly supplied fake passports to people who possibly included al-Qaeda members who travelled to the US to carry out the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001, the DSI chief said.

Mr. Mohammad Ali was released from jail in Malaysia in April after serving two years. He was convicted of posing a national security threat.

Mr Mohammad Mudbahem was said to have succeeded him as the most influential transnational criminal in the South.

DSI deputy chief Pol Col Naras Savestanan claimed the pair trafficked people, most of them Rohingya, Sri Lankans and Pakistanis and charged them at least 200,000 baht each.

He said their gang was involved with war weapons and the drugs trade in the southern region.

The large criminal syndicate is still moving in certain areas in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, "Pol Col Thawee said. "Some evidence tracked from mobile phones also shows the group is linked to the southern violence."

The three suspects will be charged with brokering human trafficking to a third country, forging and selling fake passports, and assisting illegal migrants to enter Thailand in order to pass to another country.

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