An Australian man suspected of training with al-Qaeda has been arrested in Pakistan as he prepared to board a flight to Hong Kong. Pakistani officials and Australian police yesterday confirmed the arrest of the former Melbourne taxi driver at Karachi airport moments before the flight departed on January 4. The man, Jack Terrence Thomas, has been linked to an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and to Muslim radicals in Russia's breakaway republic of Chechnya. Thomas, 29, also known as Jihad after he converted to Islam, has been under investigation by Australian police and intelligence officers since December 2001. Australian Federal Police spokeswoman Anne Lyons said: 'He was caught on a plane headed for Hong Kong . . . We have no further detail on his intentions or movements.' She said the issue of his extradition had not been discussed. Pakistan's Interior Ministry advised the Australian High Commission of Thomas' detention on Thursday. It has not granted consular access. Ministry spokesman Iftikhar Ahmed would not say what led authorities to arrest the man. But Pakistani sources told the Associated Press news agency Thomas had been linked to a violent gun and grenade battle in Karachi on Thursday during which two al-Qaeda suspects, an Iraqi and a Palestinian, were arrested. Australian Attorney-General Daryl Williams said: 'It is alleged he trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in mid-2001.' Thomas was 'reputedly in good health' and his family had been notified of his arrest, he said. Friends said Thomas converted to Islam in the mid-1990s. Thomas' father Ian, a retired teacher, refused to comment yesterday, saying only that he stood by his statement last year that his son had no links with al-Qaeda or its former Taleban allies and had never been to Afghanistan.