The Chinese and Indonesian governments exchanged information on nine terrorist suspects, believed to be from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, who fled to Indonesia after plotting an attack in China last year, Indonesian media reported.
The Indonesian police arrested four of the nine. Three fled into the jungle and two others escaped to Malaysia. The captured suspects are likely to be extradited to China as the two countries signed an extradition treaty in 2009, Jakata Post reported.
The nine were believed to be part of the group that launched the terrorist attack in March at a train station in Kunming, Yunnan province, where 33 people were killed and 133 wounded, said Saut Usman, head of the National Counterterrorism Agency of Indonesia
Saut made the remarks after he signed an agreement in Beijing with Meng Hongwei, deputy Public Security Minister of China on Tuesday as a part of an efforts to further enhance information sharing.
The suspects fled to Poso, Indonesia, by a land route through Myanmar, southern Thailand and Malaysia. From Malaysia, they entered Indonesia with Turkish passports, posing as asylum seekers, Saut said.
Saut said the police had difficulty questioning the four suspects, who were ultimately arrested, because they gave inconsistent statements. They initially admitted having come from Xinjiang, but under further questioning they retracted their statements and said they came from a town in Turkey.
"Religious extremists from China now use Southeast Asia as transit points before joining terrorist groups in the Middle East. So international anti-terrorism cooperation is crucial for China," said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism studies researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.