KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian police said Thursday they have detained a French conspiracy theorist who is wanted back home on charges of organizing the kidnapping of a girl.
Remy Daillet-Wiedemann was detained Saturday in the northern resort island of Langkawi, along with his pregnant wife and three children aged 18, 9 and 2, said acting police criminal investigation chief Dev Kumar.
French police reportedly issued an international arrest warrant in April for Daillet, an anti-government conspiracy theorist who they alleged helped organize the kidnapping of an 8-year-old girl in eastern France.
“They were arrested for possessing expired travel visas," Dev told The Associated Press, adding that the Frenchman's arrest had nothing to do with his warrant in France.
He said the family was believed to have lived in Langkawi since 2015, but their visas expired on May 21.
He said Daillet had earlier refused to undergo a COVID-19 swab test, delaying plans to hand him over to the immigration bureau, but he finally agreed to be tested Thursday. Dev said he would be handed over to the immigration if the test is negative, joining his wife and children.
“We are mindful of the condition of the wife and children. That is why we have expedited the investigations and handed them over to the Immigration Department soonest for deportation. We hope that they do not have to spend any longer time than is necessary in Malaysia," Dev said.
Immigration and French Embassy officials couldn't be immediately reached for comments.
The 8-year-old, Mia Montemaggi, was abducted on April 13 and found in Switzerland a few days later with her mother in an abandoned factory. The mother allegedly ordered the kidnapping after she lost a custody battle, and Daillet was named as a mastermind. Several people with right-wing ties have been indicted in the kidnapping.
Daillet was a former regional leader of France’s centrist Democratic Movement party before he was expelled in 2010. He reportedly runs a website calling for the overthrow of the French government and supports extreme conspiracy theories including calling for a halt to the “undue placement of children" and the use of face masks and 5G technology.