Zaharie Ahmad Shah, captain of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 received a two-minute call shortly before take-off from an unknown woman using a cell phone number bought using a false identity.
UK tabloid Daily Mail reports that the call was one of the last made to the missing plane’s captain before the flight.
Investigators now suspect a terror link since an identity card or passport number is required to purchase pay-as-you-go SIM cards in Malaysia, but the caller, who used a woman’s name, could not be traced owing to a fake identity.
The identity requirement for SIM cards in Malaysia is an anti-terrorism measure that was implemented after 9/11.
Investigators have, however, noted that having a SIM card registered using a false identity does not necessarily tie one to terrorist or criminal activity.
Political activists in Malaysia sometimes use SIM cards bought with fake identity cards as they fear that the country’s authoritarian ruling party might be bugging their phones.
While Captain Zaharie’s estranged wife Faizah Khan has not been interviewed previous owing to cultural reasons, since it is inappropriate to subject people who are undergoing bereavement to intense questioning, Daily Mail has reported that investigators will soon start question Faizah following pressure from FBI agents assisting the investigations.
The couple, who have three children, were still living together even though they are separated.