PUTRAJAYA: China has alerted Malaysia that more than 300 of its nationals have used the country as a transit point on their way to join the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq.
Chinese Public Security Vice Minister Meng Hongwie conveyed the information to Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a meeting here yesterday.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said he had requested the Chinese authorities to provide Malaysia with the list of suspects and their biometric data.
"The information would be given to the police for action, including arresting suspects on the list.
"This is a serious threat because it shows that ties exist at the international level between terrorists in China and in other countries in South-East Asia," he told reporters after the meeting.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said Malaysian authorities would "dig deeper" to find out whether the Chinese nationals had links with Malaysians.
"What I was informed was that they had entered Malaysia from a neighbouring country using passports of a third country and then left for the third country and later to war fields ... Syria and Iraq.
"Malaysia is, for now, purely a transit point," he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said the Chinese nationals had used syndicates from their own country to travel to Malaysia and the third country before going to their final destination.
Although most of the 1.4 billion population in China are Han Chinese, about 1 per cent to 2 per cent are Muslims - comprising some 20 million people.