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Suspect on missing plane is Iranian, no terrorist link

 | March 11, 2014

The Inspector General of Police says the suspect was trying to migrate to Germany.


Suspect MH 370PETALING JAYA:  Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar today said they had identified one of two men who boarded a missing Malaysian jet with fake passports as 19-year-old Iranian Pouria Nour Mohd Mehdad

Khalid said Pouria was seeking to re-settle in Frankfurt, Germany, and had used an Austrian passport which was stolen in Thailand two years ago.

“We are checking his background with the other police organisations on his profile and we believe he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group.

“We believe he was trying to migrate to Germany,” Khalid told a press conference today.

Khalid said the Iranian passenger’s mother was expecting him in Frankfurt and knew that he was travelling on a stolen passport.

Pouria was to have flown to Frankfurt on Saturday night, from Beijing.

“We are in contact with his mother so that is how we know that he is planning to migrate to Germany. When he did not arrive in Frankfurt, his mother contacted us,” he added.

He said she contacted Malaysian authorities to inform them of her concern when her son didn’t get in touch with her.

Khalid said the other man traveling with the Iranian had arrived in Malaysia on the same day, Feb 28, and had yet to be identified. However Interpol has identified the second person as Iranian Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza.

The police chief said they had not finalised their investigation on the other passenger (Delavar) who also used a stolen passport.

“On the other person who travels on the stolen passport we are still conducting our investigation,” he said.

He said both of them had entered KLIA on Feb 28, and presented themselves to counters K42 and K49 for immigration clearance.

“The subject produced his Austrian passport…the immigration officer then processed the immigration clearance based on the department standard procedures…the subject was then allowed to proceed with his journey,” he said.

Khalid also revealed that the other passenger who had the Italian passport had claimed he had arrived from Phuket.

“In conclusion I would like to reiterate that all the department SOP have been followed to verify the identities of the two subjects,” he said.

Nothing like Balotelli

The police also released CCTV images of the two men travelling on the stolen European passports.

CCTV images of Iranians with stolen passportsNeither of them looked like Italian footballer Mario Balotelli, as was described by DCA director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman on Monday.

Azharuddin, in clarifying on the looks of the two mystery passengers, had said that they did not have Asian features – as was claimed by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – and had alluded that they looked more like Balotelli, suggesting that they were of African origin.

Earlier today, BBC Persia had quoted an Iranian living in Kuala Lumpur as saying that he had hosted the pair in Kuala Lumpur in the days preceding their flight to Beijing.

The friend, who knew one of the men from his school days in Iran, said the men had bought the fake passports because they wanted to migrate to Europe.

The pair were travelling on passports belonging to Christian Kozel, an 30-year-old Austrian, and Luigi Maraldi, a 37-year-old Italian. Both had reported, separately, that their their passports were stolen in Thailand.

The report stated the two Iranians had bought the fake passports in order to migrate to Germany and Denmark.

One of the Iranian nationals intended final destination was Frankfurt, where his mother lives, while the other wanted to travel to Denmark.

In the meantime Thai authorities have also confirmed that the tickets for the duo to fly from Kuala Lumpur to their final destinations via Beijing was bought through a Thai travel agent.

The identity of the duo had become a major talking point as speculations arose over their alleged role in the sudden disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane.

Zooming on four areas to investigate

IGPMalaysian Airlines Fight MH370 disappeared early Saturday with 239 people aboard, sparking an international search for the plane in waters off Southeast Asia.

The police chief also did not discount the possibility of foul play attributing to the lost plane mystery.

“There might be somebody on the flight who bought a huge sum of insurance who wants the family to gain from it,” he said.

Earlier in the press conference, Khalid revealed that the police is focusing their investigation onto four areas; hijacking, sabotage, psychological problem between passengers and flight crew, and personal problems between passengers and flight crew.

Also read:

Forged passport passengers were fleeing Iran


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