TUMPAT, KELANTAN, Sun. – Wanted cult leader Ariffin Mohamad, better known as Ayah Pin, is believed to be hiding in a village here.
The 65-year-old, who managed to elude arrest when Terengganu religious authorities and police swooped on his “Sky Kingdom” commune in Kampung Batu 13, Hulu Besut, last month, has reportedly been sighted by several villagers.
The New Straits Times has learnt that Ariffin has been hiding in the house of a close friend, who is also his gambling partner, since last week. The house is also a popular gambling den among locals.
Ariffin is believed to have entered Kelantan by car with the help of friends, a source said. It has not been established when he arrived at the village.
“We have received information that he is making plans to cross over to Thailand and is now keeping a low profile at his friend’s house.”
The village is situated near the Thai border, where many illegal crossings take place.
It is learnt that police have been tipped off on Ariffin’s possible presence in the village.
On July 2, 21 of Ariffin’s followers were detained by religious affairs officers, and 16 days later a mob of about 50 people set fire to some structures and vehicles in the commune.
On July 28, another 48 followers were detained and later charged in the Besut Syariah Lower Court.
A few days later, three of Ariffin’s four wives were detained by police and charged wth following deviant teachings.
They have been charged in the Syariah lower court with not adhering to the state fatwa.