!!!Criminal Activities - LTTE!!! -
04-24-2007, 04:41 PM
One factor that has benefited the LTTE greatly has been its sophisticated international support network. While some of the funding obtained by the LTTE is from legitimate fund raising and extortion among the Tamil diaspora, a significant portion is obtained through criminal activities, involving sea piracy, human smuggling, drug trafficking and gunrunning
The LTTE are reported to hijack ships and boats of all sizes, and it is common practice for them to kidnap and kill the crew members on board the hijacked vessels
The LTTE has been accused of hijacking several vessels in waters outside Sri Lanka including the Irish Mona (in August 1995), Princess Wave (in August 1996), Athena (in May 1997), Misen (in July 1997), Morong Bong (in July 1997), MV Cordiality (in Sept 1997) and Princess Kash (in August 1998). When the LTTE captured the MV Cordiality near the port of Trincomalee, they killed all five Chinese crew members on board. The MV Sik Yang, a 2,818-ton Malaysian-flag cargo ship which sailed from Tuticorin, India on May 25, 1999 was reported missing in waters near Sri Lanka. The ship with a cargo of bagged salt was due at the Malaysian port of Malacca on May 31. The fate of the ship's crew of 15 is unknown. It is suspected that the vessel was hijacked by the LTTE and is now been used as a phantom vessel. A report published on June 30, 1999 confirmed that the vessel had been hijacked by the LTTE.
In a notable incident since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 2001, the crew of a Jordanian ship, MV Farah III that ran aground near rebel-controlled territory off the island's coast, accused the Tamil Tigers of forcing them to abandon the vessel which was carrying 14,000 tonnes of Indian rice and risking their lives. The crew said that LTTE fired four times to force them out of the vessel after failing to explode it in choppy seas three days ago. The skipper of the vessel said "First they tried to set up a bomb and explode the anchor cable and when it failed they ordered us to weigh anchor". He also said that the Tigers dismantled and removed all radio communication equipment and radar from the vessel.
Most of the smuggling of Tamil people to Western countries is done under the permission of the LTTE. The LTTE benefits greatly from smuggling of Tamil people for example, to Canada. Usually, it costs around $10,000 and $40,000 for a Sri Lankan Tamil to be smuggled to Canada illegally, with the usual cost running around $20-25,000 dollars. Also, the people who are leaving Sri Lanka from Tamil Tigers controlled are ordered to pay a few hundred dollars for an "exit visa" by the LTTE. In addition to this, people with special skills or a greater wealth than ordinary Tamils may have to pay thousands of dollars to be entitled to leave.
Abuse and forced prostitution of Tamil women
Another industry the LTTE has been implicated in is the forced prostitution of Tamil women who are being smuggled to other countries. In the mid 1990s some Sri Lankan women were abused or raped while being smuggled towards Canada by the LTTE, and some were deliberately stranded in Thailand and forced into prostitution there.
A passport forgery scheme uncovered in Canada in 1990 which was the first one to result in a Canadian conviction has also been linked to the LTTE. The perpetrators were Canadian Tamils who produced around 1,000 doctored travel documents before being caught. Another forger was uncovered in 1991, and was proven to have dealt with the LTTE after the phone number of Ontario’s World Tamil Movement was found to be listed under ‘LTTE’ in his date book.
A number of international organizations and intelligence agencies have accused the LTTE of involvement in drug trafficking. and its history of drug smuggling that runs back to 1970s when Tamil smugglers (a group from which the leader of the LTTE and some of his key lieutenants originally emerged) started carrying heroin from India to Sri Lanka. When the traditional smuggling routes used by many Afghan/Pakistani opium and heroin producers became severely disrupted due to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Fundamentalist revolution in Iran, the Sri Lankan Tamils soon provided a new way of getting their drugs to markets elsewhere in the world.
In addition to this, Tamils also started selling drugs in the Western Europe by 1984. Many Tamil heroin smuggling activities have been reported in many countries in the Europe including Italy, Switzerland, Poland, and France. One LTTE operative who was jailed in France for two years for heroin smuggling has later become the chief of their international operations.
At the end of 1990s when the volume of heroin from Southeast Asia was increasing, the Tamil Tigers again took advantage of this source too. The LTTE set up a naval base for their use on the Island of Twante, off Burma, the world's leading source for heroin from that part of the world. The LTTE have reportedly used their very own merchant ships from the shipping line that they own, to smuggle heroin into Europe. The American government is aware of LTTE's heroin transactions inside and around southern Thailand and Burma, but in the absence of any direct threat to the US from the Tigers, the resources of their Drug Enforcement Agency are focused elsewhere.
The LTTE operates within two separate levels in their activities in the North America and Europe. The Tiger operatives are engaged in propaganda and lobbying aspects, as well as coordinating a myriad of fronts and charities to raise cash for the war. Another group of operatives run criminal enterprises including refugee smuggling, narcotics trafficking, sophisticated frauds, and extortion rings to deliver funds to feed the LTTE.
Another one of LTTE's most secretive International operations is the smuggling of weapons, explosives, and "dual use" technologies to keep up with the military operations. The part of the LTTE responsible for these activities is given the nickname "KP Branch", taking the initials of its highest level operative, Kumaran Padmanathan. The workers for the KP Branch are outsiders from the fighting wing of the LTTE, since the identities of the those fighters are recorded and available to law enforcement and counter-intelligence agencies by India's RAW, who had helped train many Tiger Cadres in the early 1980s. The KP Branch operates extremely secretively by having the minimum connection possible with the LTTE's other sections for further security. It finally hands over the arms shipments to a highly trusted team of the sea Tigers to deliver them to the LTTE dominated areas.
In order to carryout the activities of International arms trafficking, the LTTE operates it own fleet of ocean-going vessels. These vessels only operate a certain period of time for the LTTE and in the remaining time they transport legitimate goods and raise hard cash for the purchase of weapons. The LTTE initially operated a shipping base in Myanmar , but they were forced to leave due to diplomatic pressure. To overcome the loss of this, a new base has been set up on Phuket Island, in Thailand.
However, the most expertly carried out operation of the KP Branch was the theft of 32,400 rounds of 81mm mortar ammunition purchased from Tanzania for the Sri Lanka Army. Being aware of the purchase of 35,000 mortar bombs, the LTTE made a bid to the manufacturer through a numbered company and arranged a vessel of their own to pick up the load. Once the bombs were loaded into the ship, the LTTE changed the name and registration of their ship. The vessel was taken to Tiger-held territory in Sri Lanka's north instead of transporting it to its intended destination.
The Western countries are the main territory for fund raising activities of the LTTE. The money raised from donations and criminal enterprises are transferred into bank accounts of the Tigers and from there to the accounts of a weapons broker, or, the money is taken by KP operatives themselves. LTTE's need for resources is mostly fulfilled by the Tamils who reside outside Sri Lanka. In 1995, when the LTTE lost Jaffna, their international operatives were ordered to increase, by a massive 50%, the amount raised from Tamils outside of the island.
LTTE has also committed credit card fraud in a number of countries including India and the United Kingdom, and other similar crimes including organized crime, social security fraud and counterfeit currency trading.