A SINGAPORE citizen was convicted by a US jury on Monday of attempting to purchase American weapons for use by the Tamil Tigers, said a statement from the US attorney's office in Maryland.

Balraj Naidu, 48, was found guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist group, and faces up to 15 years in jail.

The statement said Naidu and his co-conspirators wanted to obtain grenade launchers, sniper rifles, machine guns and other state-of-the-art firearms.

In 2006, Naidu and his associates attempted to purchase weaponry from China, Thailand, North Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia for the Tamil Tigers operating within Sri Lanka. In April 2006, Naidu's Indonesian sources for weapons unknowingly introduced him and his co-conspirators to an agent for an undercover business in Maryland that purported to sell military weapons.

According to the US attorney's office, one of Naidu's co-conspirators, Haniffa Bin Osman, travelled to Baltimore in the summer of 2006, where he examined and test-fired many of the arms. Tamil Tigers representatives then made a wire transfer of US$250,000 (S$325,772) to the undercover business' accounts, which was a down payment on a US$900,000 total price. About 28 tons of weapons and ammunition, which the conspirators believed they were purchasing, was air-lifted to the US territory of Guam.

Investigations subsequently led to Naidu's arrest. He is due to sentenced in December. Haniffa Bin Osman, also a Singapore citizen, was earlier jailed for 37 months.

Man bought arms for Tigers