Immigration officer among seven arrested for aiding terrorists

KUALA LUMPUR: An immigration officer and five Filipinos who helped raise funds for South Philippines terrorist groups and aided the illegitimate travel of foreign Daesh militants were among seven people arrested by the federal police Special Branch counter terrorism unit since last Wednesday.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that two Filipino men aged 18 and 27 - one who possessed Malaysian permanent resident status were the first to be held in an operation in Kota Kinabalu on Wednesday.

He said both men who are self-employed had allegedly collected funds from IS supporters and channelled it to a senior leader of the Basilan-based Abu Sayaf militants and two Malaysian Daesh members who joined a South Philippines terrorist group three years ago.

Khalid identified the senior Filipino leader as Isnilon Hapilon and the Malaysians as Dr Mahmud Ahmad and Mohamad Joraimee Awang Raimee.

He said on Thursday, two Filipinos - a 40-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman who worked as a labourer and ferry ticketing staff respectively were detained for facilitating the journey of three Indonesian militants into the South Philippines via Sabah since late 2016.

Khalid said both suspects possessed Malaysian permanent resident status.

On the same day, a 31-year-old female immigration officer at the Sandakan airport who is tasked to inspect travel documents of travellers was detained for allegedly aiding the entry of foreign militants into Malaysia without valid passports.

He said she was also suspected to have facilitated the travel of Malaysian and Indonesian Daesh members into the South Philippines from Sabah.

Khalid said a 36-year-old Filipino man who worked as a car mechanic and who had planned to join the Islamic State (IS) in Syria was also detained in Sandakan on Thursday.

In the latest arrest on Sunday, a former medical assistant attached to the Jerantut Hospital was arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) after being deported by the Turkish authorities for allegedly attempting to sneak into Syria.

Khalid said the 36-year-old man was arrested by the Turkish authorities together with several Indonesian militants in October when they tried to enter Syria to join the IS with the help of Abu Fateh, an Indonesian militant from Sulawesi.

All seven suspects are being held under anti-terrorism laws and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).