Ash alert as two nabbed at airport

Ash alert as two nabbed at airport
Detained: Plainclothes policemen escorting the suspects (in white, at the back) at the Penang International Airport.

PENANG - The Penang International Airport was a flurry of activity when two men, who arrived from Bangkok, were detained for carrying memorabilia of the late Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng.

The two, who arrived here last night at 9.55pm, were arrested immediately and taken to the nearby Bayan Baru police station.

The presence of senior police officers had earlier sparked off speculation that the duo had been arrested for carrying Chin Peng's ashes.

Police had surrounded the airport and its departure hall prior to the aeroplane's arrival from Thailand.

The two men, one a 59-year-old Hong Kong national and the other a 66-year-old Penangite, were arrested soon after their Thai Airways flight touched down. Their luggage was seized and police whisked them away to the police station.

However, at a press conference after midnight at the station, Penang police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said there was no ash but only memorabilia like books and CDs and a cap with the communist emblem.

Also present were state deputy CID chief Asst Comm Nasir Salleh, Balik Pulau OCPD Supt Mohd Hatta Mohd Zain and George Town OCPD Asst Comm Gan Kong Meng.

A local police source said the two men had attended Chin Peng's funeral in Thailand and had bought a lot of Chin Peng-related memorabilia. Police have seized the memorabilia and the two men have been arrested under the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Bakar, when contacted in Kuala Lumpur, also dismissed talk that Chin Peng's ashes had been brought in.

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