Toronto police are investigating the theft of a computer containing the names of Sri Lankan migrants who arrived in Canada last month aboard the MV Sun Sea.
The computer was stolen during a break-in at the head office of the Canadian Tamil Congress, which had been keeping records of the migrants and their families in Canada and Sri Lanka.
Some of the Sun Sea migrants have said they could testify as witnesses to war crimes committed during the final stage of the war, CTC spokesman David Poopalapillai said.
"It could be the work of the Sri Lankan intelligence unit," he said. "Sri Lanka is trying their level best to prevent any war crimes investigation in the future. The families might be intimidated and the war crimes witnesses would back off."
The RCMP has not shared the names of the Sun Sea migrants with the Sri Lankan government, which has been widely condemned over its human-rights record.
The migrants' identities are also the subject of a publication ban ordered by the Immigration and Refugee Board. The ban was imposed to protect the refugee claimants and their families in Sri Lanka from reprisals.
Poopalapillai said the break-in could also be a hate crime by someone upset at the mass arrival of the migrants. He said the office, which has been helping the migrants, had received hateful phone calls and emails on the issue.
The break-in happened between 6:30 p.m. Saturday, when the last volunteer left the office, and 9:30 a.m. Sunday, when another volunteer returned in the morning and found the door open and the office ransacked.
"The premise had signs of forced entry and a quantity of electronic equipment was taken," Toronto police said in a written statement. Police were canvassing the industrial strip mall for witnesses Sunday afternoon.
The theft appeared to be a "targeted job," Poopalapillai said.