Kuala Lumpur: Malaysians heading for Syria and Iraq to fight for the dreaded Islamic State have been taking out bank loans to fund their journey and lifestyle there, according to police.
Investigation papers on at least five IS sympathisers, who were stopped from travelling there, showed that they had not only disposed of most of their properties, but had also applied for loans, some up to more than Rs 20 lakh, New Straits Times quoted police sources as saying.
A 30-year-old man, who was arrested at the international airport here, had taken a loan, quit his job and had begun his trip. Brunei and India were supposed to be among his stops, the report said.
The Special Branch's Counter-Terrorism Division said it would alert banks to stop extending loans to those they had strong grounds to believe were IS members sourcing for funds.
Sources close to probe said many of these suspects had applied for loans with no intention of repaying them as their road to martyrdom was one way, the report said.
This trend had begun for some time and that many of these suspects' comrades in Syria and Iraq had done it before, the sources said.
"Some of them subscribed to the idea that even if they do come back to Malaysia, they would be arrested and settling the loan would be the least of their problems," one of the sources said.
Special Branch's Principal Assistant Director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said police had found that this method of raising funds was fast becoming a trend among IS members.
"We know that before this, many militants wanting to fight in Syria would sell off their belongings or were sponsored to go over (there) by IS supporters in the country. Lately, however, the trend of taking personal loans from banks is on the rise," he added.