- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 1, 2002

BANGKOK Security officials at Singapore's international airport seized a submachine gun and five clips of ammunition from a bodyguard traveling with the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, police said yesterday.
The seizure took place May 25 during routine security checks as Saadi M. Gadhafi, 28, and his entourage were about to board a flight to Bangkok, police said in a news release.
A pistol, a revolver and a knife also were taken from the bodyguard for Col. Gadhafi's son, the news release said.
The younger Mr. Gadhafi and his security detail were among a party of at least 15 Libyans on their way to Seoul to watch the World Cup soccer tournament, Singapore's Straits Times newspaper said.
But security officials in Thailand found more weapons on two of the men in the group when the plane landed in Bangkok.
After an extensive investigation, Singaporean police still "do not know how" the entourage was able to smuggle the guns into Bangkok's airport. The cache found by Singaporean authorities was seized shortly before the plane was to depart.
"In the course of the security screening," police found weapons and ammunition "in the possession of one of Mr. Saadi Gadhafi's bodyguards, Mr. Abousbelha Hussein Azzaydi," police said.
After Singaporean police seized the weapons, the entire group was allowed to board a Singapore Airlines flight to Bangkok.
"Two members of the entourage, Mr. Gebril Bokes and Mr. Ali Hussein Mohammed, were arrested by the Thai authorities for having in their possession two pistols as they were reboarding the flight for Seoul at Bangkok [International] Airport," the Singaporean police said.
The mystery of how the two Libyans were able to bring two guns through Singapore's airport security has baffled police in Singapore.
"Both were subjected to security checks at [Singapores] Changi Airport, and no weapon was found on them. The entire delegation was escorted from the VIP area to board their flight and had no opportunity to be in the general transit area" while in Singapore, the police statement added.
"We do not know how they came to possess the weapons at Bangkok [International] Airport," the Singaporean police said.
Sharp-eyed Thai police at Bangkok's airport arrested the two men while the Libyans, who were reported to have had the guns tucked into their pants behind their belts, waited in the transit lounge, Thai officials said.
The pair was detained for two days and released on May 27 after a Libyan diplomat based in Malaysia flew to Thailand and guaranteed they were official bodyguards assigned to protect the Libyan president's son.
"They paid a small fine, and we let them go," Thai Police Maj. Gen. Tritot Ronnaritivichai was quoted as saying.
The Pentagon has expressed concern that terrorists linked to the al Qaeda network have tried to use Singapore and other Southeast Asian nations as a staging ground for attacks on American embassies, businesses and other targets.
But the Libyan gun-smuggling case did not appear to be linked to al Qaeda or terrorism, according to initial police reports.

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