Interpol issues warrant for a UK man alleged of smuggling Sri Lankan Tamils to Canada

Mar 23, Colombo: The Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for a Sri Lankan Tamil man in the United Kingdom accused of running human smuggling operations.

The world’s international police organization has issued a Red Notice for Shanmugasundaram Kanthaskaran, 38, a native of Silavathurai, Sri Lanka.

According to the Intepol, he is wanted for his alleged involvement in people smuggling, trafficking and illegal immigration, and terrorism.

While the public Interpol notice is vague, Canada’s daily National Post says based on classified details of the allegations obtained by the newspaper says he is wanted in connection with the human smuggling vessel Ocean Lady that sent 76 Sri Lankans to Canada aboard a cargo ship in 2009.

Citing a confidential Sri Lankan government report, the National Post says Mr. Kanthaskaran, also known as “Peg Leg Shankar,” holds a British passport and operates from the U.K., Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

“The subject has established an effective network covering South Asian countries to run the human smuggling operations,” the paper quoted the document adding that the accused organized the Ocean Lady smuggling run with a Canadian named Ravi Shanker.

According to the report, Mr. Kanthaskaran who was a member of the Sea Tiger unit of LTTE moved to London after he lost his leg battling government forces. He was allegedly involved in procuring arms for the rebels

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During the final phase of the war the LTTE operatives in the UK had organized to smuggle arms on board a ship called Princess Easwary to the cornered Tiger rebels in Northern Sri Lanka in the guise of humanitarian aid.

The ship was not allowed to sail to Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan forces decimated the LTTE in Sri Lanka before the ship could reach the final destination with arms reportedly smuggled from North Korea. According to the National Post report Mr. Kanthaskaran organized that arms smuggling operation in May 2009.

After the news of Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s demise, the ship’s crew had dumped their cargo into the sea off Indonesia.

The report says that Mr. Kanthaskaran then modified the ship, changed its name and used it to smuggle people from Thailand to Canada.

In October 2009, reportedly the modified ship, MV Ocean Lady brought 76 illegal Sri Lankan migrants, all males, to British Columbia. MV Sun Sea’s human cargo included 380 men, 63 women, and 49 children. All the migrants have sought asylum in the country.

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