Three men suspected of being Tamil Tigers have been arrested in Malaysia, a top police official said yesterday, accusing them of attempting to revive the Sri Lankan separatist group.
Malaysian inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said the trio, who had been in Malaysia since 2004, were arrested in multiple raids in Selangor State on May 15, and were being held under the country’s Immigration Act.
“They used Malaysia as a base to collect funds, spread their propaganda and were attempting to revive the defunct terrorist group at the international level,” he said in a statement.
Police also seized propaganda materials of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and some money in various foreign currencies.
There is a small, but affluent, Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora living in multiracial Malaysia after migrating from their homeland many decades ago.
Khalid said they were registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and so had been able to remain in Malaysia since 2004 without visas.
“We will not allow the country to be used as a place for them to hide or conduct any terror activities in the country or on foreign soil,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s military killed Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran on May 18, 2009, and declared an end to 37 years of armed conflict.
There have been no major attacks blamed on the group since.
The Tigers, who during the height of their power controlled nearly one-third of Sri Lanka’s territory, were well-known for their trademark suicide bombings.
Meanwhile, in the past few weeks, Malaysian security forces have made a series of arrests involving foreign terror suspects and foiled a plot to attack foreign missions in two Indian cities.
Malaysian police have also launched an investigation into whether Somali rebels were seeking to set up a base in the Southeast Asian country after a suspected insurgent was arrested.