Three men have been detained in Hong Kong for an alleged plot to use drug money to buy missiles for the al-Qaida terror network. The men face extradition to the United States.
The Hong Kong government said the men were arrested on September 20 after a tip from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation indicated they had tried to buy four Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
The men allegedly planned to use profits from smuggling hashish and heroin to buy the missiles. A Hong Kong government statement says the missiles were bound for the al-Qaida terror network.
The three men appeared in a Hong Kong court Tuesday to fight an extradition request from the United States. The court did not make a decision and the case was adjourned until November 15 to allow time for local authorities to obtain documents from the United States.
One of the men is an American citizen and the other two are Pakistani nationals.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, has an extradition agreement with the United States. Hong Kong recently signed a new customs agreement with the United States allowing U.S. customs officials to search cargo bound for America; the agreement is aimed at reducing the risk of smuggled explosives or arms reaching a U.S. target.
Hong Kong's Security Bureau denied that the territory is home to any known terrorist group. Only two weeks ago, visiting U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft praised the local government for their efforts in cracking down on international money laundering linked to terror networks.