Cops: Probe of ‘spy’ ongoing

KUALA LUMPUR: The police are looking to uncover the real reason why suspected Israeli spy Shalom Avitan came to the country and will not be deflected by any red herrings, says Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain (pic).

He said police are taking into account the fact he had entered Malaysia during Ramadan and could have been planning an attack during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive period.

“The suspect gave an excuse that he wanted to hunt down a leader of a rival crime family, but we cannot easily accept this reason.

“As I have pointed out, the suspect could be a threat to our leaders, foreign diplomats and even leaders from Hamas.

“Uncovering why this man has six pistols and 200 bullets in his possession is the main focus of our investigation. It can possibly reveal exactly why he came to Malaysia,” he told a press conference at Bukit Aman yesterday.

Razarudin said he believes the theory that the 38-year-old suspect came to Malaysia on a personal vendetta could just be a red herring, which is why all angles must be explored.

The IGP credited the success in detaining the man to the intelligence work carried out by the Special Branch’s counter-terrorism division, which has experience in curbing such threats.

He also said Bukit Aman is tracking down more than two people connected to the suspect, adding that these persons of interest included locals and foreigners.

“We believe the individuals we are looking for can assist us in the investigation.

“They will be able to shed more light on the case,” he added.

So far, police have recorded statements from 23 people.

Razarudin also confirmed that the six pistols sold to the suspected Israeli spy were smuggled from Thailand, adding that the Israeli man and the local married couple who sold him the firearms could be facing the death penalty if convicted.

The IGP, however, said Bukit Aman could not reveal how the firearms were handed over to the suspect and that even the method of communication between them has to be kept secret for the sake of the investigation.

“While we cannot reveal how they communicated, we can confirm that they did not know each other prior to the sale of the pistols,” he added.

The suspect was arrested at a hotel in Jalan Ampang on March 27.

Two days later, the couple aged 40 and 42, was arrested at a Ramadan bazaar in Kuala Selangor.

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