Singapore’s ‘most wanted terrorist’ arrest by Malaysia highlights value of international co-operation

13 May 2009

HANOI, Vietnam – The arrest of a suspected terrorist leader in Malaysia following his escape from custody in Singapore has again underlined the need for police to share information on wanted international fugitives via INTERPOL, President KHOO Boon Hui told the 29th Asean Chiefs of Police (Aseanapol) conference in Hanoi today.

Immediately after Mas Selamat bin Kastari - an alleged leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group - fled from the Whitley Road detention centre in February 2008, INTERPOL issued a global alert, which was then supported by a request from Singapore for the issue of a Red Notice, or international wanted persons alert, which requests the arrest of an individual with a view to their extradition.

Addressing the conference, INTERPOL President and Singapore Police Force Commissioner KHOO said the Red Notice enabled them to draw on the strength of a global network of police to obtain leads to help track down Mas Selamat, as there was the possibility of him surfacing anywhere in the world.

“Even as we searched for him in Singapore and sought the assistance of our counterparts in Malaysia and Indonesia where we assessed he was most likely to have escaped to, we were committed to sharing vital police information about him with our counterparts all over the world,” said President Khoo.

“The issue of a Red Notices enabled us to draw on the strength of a global police network to obtain leads, it allowed our colleagues around the world to better protect their citizens and it also limited Mas Selamat’s ability to move about the world as Red Notices act as global tripwires. I was therefore personally not surprised that he was caught so near to Singapore as he must have found it very difficult to relocate himself further.

“I have spoken to my counterpart, the Inspector General of the Royal Malaysian Police to thank him personally for the sterling efforts of his officers in arresting this dangerous terrorist,” added President Khoo.

Mas Selamat was arrested in Malaysia on 1 April and is currently awaiting extradition to Singapore.

An agreement signed between INTERPOL and Aseanapol in 2007 enables  information stored in the electronic Aseanapol Database System (e-ADS) to be accessible to law enforcement worldwide via INTERPOL’s secure global police communications system, I-24/7.

The declaration also means that any searches made of the e-ADS database are automatically run against INTERPOL’s nominal and Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) databases as well as INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database which currently contains over 18 million documents from more than 140 countries.