Death and destruction looked imminent, had the ISD not stepped in to prevent the first known self-radicalised Singaporean to harbour the intention to carry out violent attacks in Singapore from executing his dastardly plans.
This time, the Internal Security Act has been used more as a shield than a sword.
And what a shield – from two would-be terrorists in the making!
Arrested in April this year for “terrorism-related activities”, self-radicalised 19-year-old M Arifil Azim Putra Norja’i was planning to join terrorist group ISIS.
If that proved unsuccessful, the Singaporean teen planned to carry out violent attacks in Singapore, such as random knife attacks in public places.
He also planned to strike key facilities and assassinate government leaders.
It was also discovered that Arifil was learning how to make bombs.
Arifil had started viewing terrorist propaganda online two years ago, and began to support the radical ideology and violent tactics of ISIS.
He even befriended people online whom he believed could help him enlist with the terrorist group.
The MHA says Arifil had tried to recruit several people to help carry out the attacks, and while they were not swayed by Arifil, they did not alert the authorities about the plans either.
“Fortunately, another person who knew Arifil noticed the changes in him, and had brought him to the attention of the authorities, who were then able to investigate the matter and take action before he could carry out his violent attack plans in Singapore.”
Another Singaporean 17-year-old Singaporean teen was arrested earlier this month to investigate the extent of his radicalisation.
His family had been informed of his arrest and would be kept informed of the outcome of the investigations.
This is the MHA’s statement in full:
ARREST AND DETENTION OF SELF-RADICALISED SINGAPOREANS UNDER THE INTERNAL SECURITY ACT
Arrest and Detention of Self-Radicalised Singaporeans
A Singaporean youth has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for terrorism-related activities since April 2015. In May 2015, another Singaporean youth was arrested under the ISA for further investigations into the extent of his radicalisation.
2. In April 2015, M Arifil Azim Putra Norja’i (Arifil) was detained under the ISA for terrorism-related activities. Investigations showed that Arifil, a 19-year-old post-secondary student, had made plans to join the terrorist group “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)”. His radicalisation began around 2013 after he started viewing terrorist propaganda online. He grew to support the radical ideology and violent tactics of ISIS, and befriended individuals online whom he thought could help him join ISIS. He had actively surfed the Internet for information on travel routes to Syria so that he could engage in armed violence there, and had furthermore done research online on making improvised explosive devices.
3. More importantly, Arifil also revealed that if he was unable to join ISIS in Syria, he intended to carry out violent attacks in Singapore. He gave considerable thought to how he would attack key facilities and assassinate government leaders. If he was unable to carry out these plans, he planned instead to carry out attacks in public places in order to strike fear within our
society, using easily available weapons such as knives.
4. Arifil is the first known self-radicalised Singaporean to harbour the intention to carry out violent attacks in Singapore.
5. Arifil’s intention to carry out violent attacks in Singapore were subsequently corroborated by several persons who said that he had tried to recruit them to help carry out these plans. Investigations showed that while these persons did not fall prey to Arifil’s attempts to recruit them, they also did not alert the authorities about Arifil. Fortunately, another person who knew
Arifil noticed the changes in him, and had brought him to the attention of the authorities, who were then able to investigate the matter and take action before he could carry out his violent attack plans in Singapore.
6. In May 2015, another radicalised Singaporean post-secondary youth, aged 17, was arrested under the ISA for further investigations into the extent of his radicalisation. His family was informed of his arrest, and will be kept informed of the outcome of the investigations.
Protecting Young Persons from Radicalisation and Turning to Violence
7. There have been recent reports of young people in other countries who have become so deeply radicalised by extremist propaganda that they are prepared to undertake acts of terrorist violence at home and abroad. These two young Singaporeans who have been radicalised demonstrate that young persons in Singapore can also become radicalised in particular through the Internet.
8. Family members, friends, colleagues and members of the public have an important role to play in protecting fellow Singaporeans from radicalisation and engaging in terrorist activities. This should be done early, so that Singaporeans at risk of becoming radicalised can be provided proper guidance, supervision and religious instruction, and be saved. Religious
institutions and teachers also have an important role to play in engaging young Singaporeans when they have questions on religious matters, and steering them in the right direction. Anyone who knows or suspects that a person is radicalised should promptly call the ISD Counter-Terrorism Centre hotline 1800-2626-473 (1800-2626-ISD). This could save such individuals and allow them to be helped and counselled, so that they are prevented from engaging in violent activities that may cause harm to themselves and others.
Ministry of Home Affairs
27 May 2015