Former construction worker charged with financing terrorism via online fundraising platforms
SINGAPORE — A 27-year-old former construction worker was on Thursday (Dec 23) charged with financing terrorism by transferring about S$900 to Syria-based organisations. He allegedly knew that the money could be used to benefit a militant group fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate in Syria.
SINGAPORE — A 27-year-old former construction worker was on Thursday (Dec 23) charged with financing terrorism by transferring about S$900 to Syria-based organisations.
He allegedly knew that the money could be used to benefit a militant group fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate in Syria.
Ahmed Faysal, a Bangladesh national, allegedly made the transfers through several online platforms, such as JustGiving, to fundraising campaigns for the Syria-based organisations.
He is said to have known that the money would benefit the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group, based on court documents.
Ahmed faces 15 charges under Singapore’s Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.
In a press statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that Ahmed was earlier arrested under the Internal Security Act for terrorism-related activities and given a detention order.
Before that, he had been working in construction here since early 2017.
He became radicalised in 2018 and was attracted to terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's (Isis) goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate in Syria, MHA said.
In the middle of 2019, he switched allegiances to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
A parallel investigation by the Singapore police’s commercial affairs department found that between February and August last year, he allegedly transferred up to S$891 on 15 occasions. The sums ranged from S$5 to S$303.
Court documents showed that he allegedly used the online platforms JustGiving, Heroic Hearts Organisation and GiveBrite to transfer money for campaigns such as “Ramadan 2020 Emergency Homes for Syria” and “Medical Aid Syria”.
MHA said that he was aware the money could, either entirely or in part, be used to benefit Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’s cause in Syria.
If convicted and jailed, the detention order against Ahmed will be cancelled and he will serve the court sentence imposed. He would also be held separately from other inmates to prevent him from spreading his radical ideas, MHA added.
Those convicted of providing property and services for terrorist purposes can be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to S$500,000, or punished with both.
MHA noted that those wishing to donate to humanitarian causes can check the Charity Portal to ensure that their donations are being used for genuine charitable purposes.
“Terrorism and terrorism financing are grave threats to domestic and international security, and global action is required to deprive terrorist groups of funding and materials," the ministry said.
"Singapore is part of this global effort and is strongly committed to combating terrorism financing, regardless of whether the monies are used to facilitate terrorist acts locally or abroad."
In September, a 50-year-old Singaporean man who gave S$1,000 to an Isis militant to facilitate terrorist acts in Syria was jailed for three years and 10 months.