An Iranian man suspected to be the mastermind behind an international forged passport syndicate with links to a terrorist cell responsible for the 2012 bombing in Bangkok, was extradited to Thailand from Malaysia recently.
His lawyer, Worrasit Piriyawiboon told Bernama that his client arrived in Bangkok on July 22, and was currently held at the Bangkok Remand Centre.
“My client will appear at the court for pre-trial on Sept 26 next month. He was intially charged with involvement with forgery of travel documents,” he said in Bangkok today.
Worrasit said he was officially appointed to represent the Iranian suspect three days after his extradition from Malaysia and had scheduled a meeting with his client at the remand centre later today.
A security source who declined to be identified confirmed the matter, saying the extradition of the highly sought-after suspect was an arrangement between Thailand and Malaysia’s Attorney-General’s Chambers.
The Iranian was arrested by Malaysian police outside Perkeso building in Jalan Ampang on Aug 3, 2013 and had been detained since then before his recent extradition to Thailand.
Malaysian police confirmed the Iranian’s arrest in a statement issued by the then Special Task Force (Operations and Counter Terrorism) director Mohamad Fuzi Haron.
Mohamad Fuzi said the suspect was picked up on suspicion of forging international travel documents for various criminal organisations and terrorist elements.
The police also found two forged passports and various currencies at his rented house in Ampang.
According to the statement, the Iranian had masterminded South East Asia’s largest human trafficking syndicate which smuggled Iran’s citizens until he was arrested in the resort city of Pattaya in June 2012.
Mohamad Fuzi, who is currently Bukit Aman’s Special Branch director also said the syndicate which the Iranian led was operating for five years and prepared more than 3,000 forged documents, raking in about RM9 million.
The Iranian had managed to evade the Thai authorities after jumping bail and entered Malaysia using a forged Turkish passport.
During his arrest by the Thai authorities, it was also revealed that the suspect supplied forged passports to those involved in the Feb 14, 2012 bombing incident in Bangkok.
A series of bombing incidents in Bangkok on that day, which the Thai authorities said were a botched attempt by the Iranian to assassinate Israeli diplomats had left five people, including one of the perpetrators, injured.
The blast occurred a day after similar attacks on Israeli diplmats in Tbilisi, Georgia and New Delhi.
Thai authorities arrested two Iranian suspects soon after the incident while Malaysian police apprehended another Iranian suspect at the KL International Airport (KLIA) when he tried to board a flight to Iran in attempt to return home.
Another three Iranians, including a woman, suspected to be involved in the bombing attempt are at large.
Thai authorities had also investigated whether the Iranian currently under their custody, and his accomplices supplied forged passports to two Iranians who boarded Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 before it vanished on March 8, 2014, in the southern Indian Ocean.