Shalom Avitan’s case: Connections, charges, and consequences explained

A timeline of Shalom Avitan’s activities in Malaysia

13 Apr 2024 07:00am
Shalom Avitan was arrested in Kuala Lumpur in possession of six handguns and 158 bullets.
Shalom Avitan was arrested in Kuala Lumpur in possession of six handguns and 158 bullets.

SHAH ALAM - Shalom Avitan, a 38-year-old Israeli national, was arrested in Kuala Lumpur for arms trafficking and illegal possession of firearms.

He was found with six handguns and 158 bullets in a hotel room on Jalan Ampang between March 26 and 28.

Avitan faces severe penalties under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, including potential sentences of 30 to 40 years and mandatory whipping.

Background and speculations:

Avitan entered Malaysia using a French passport on March 12, coming from the United Arab Emirates.

His movements across various hotels were tracked by Malaysian authorities before his arrest.

There has been wild speculation in Malaysia about Avitan potentially being a spy for Israel’s Mossad, especially given his alleged links to an Israeli-based crime family and claims of targetting a rival gang leader.

Malaysia has no diplomatic relations with Israel and has long supported Palestinian statehood.

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Israelis require a visa and permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs to enter Malaysia.

IGP's statement:

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husainhas publicly labelled Avitan a suspected spy.

This label intensified the scrutiny of Avitan’s activities and his potential connections to broader intelligence operations.

Connection to local accomplices:

The case took a new turn with the arrest of a Malaysian couple, Syarifah Faraha Syed Husin and her husband Abdul Azim Yasin.

They were reported to have supplied Avitan with the firearms.

She was accused of possessing a CZ 75 P-01 CAL.9 LUGER pistol with the serial number A216210 without a licence.

Azim was charged with her under Section 9 of the Act for consorting with persons carrying firearms.

Both have been remanded and were central to understanding the local network that possibly supported Avitan.

Current legal proceedings:

Avitan has pleaded not guilty to the charges of arms trafficking and illegal possession of firearms.

The court has set May 21 for a re-mention of his case, which will likely provide further insights into this complex case.

This case is noteworthy not only due to the involvement of international elements but also because it unfolds amid a tense geopolitical backdrop, including Israel's ongoing genocide in Gaza, which could provide context or contrast to the motivations behind Avitan’s activities in Malaysia.