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Batam plot suspect planned to work in Marina Bay to collect intelligence

SINGAPORE / JAKARTA — The Indonesian suspect arrested in Batam over the weekend in connection with an attack on Marina Bay planned to work as a cleaner and pasar malam (night market) helper in the Republic to collect intelligence to channel to his accomplices.

Batam plot suspect planned to work in Marina Bay to collect intelligence

Passport of suspect arrested, and items seized during last Saturday's raid. Photo: Riau Police

SINGAPORE / JAKARTA — The Indonesian suspect arrested in Batam over the weekend in connection with an attack on Marina Bay planned to work as a cleaner and pasar malam (night market) helper in the Republic to collect intelligence to channel to his accomplices.

Riau Islands Police Chief Sam Budigusdian said that, based on initial investigations, the 24-year-old unemployed suspect, whom police identified as LH, had obtained a passport with the aim of finding a job in Singapore.

The Indonesian media has named LH as Leonardo Hutajulu, based on pictures of his passport that Mr Budigusdian showed during a press conference on Monday (Sept 5).

“He wanted to work in Singapore to give information to his accomplices as part of the plot to attack Marina Bay. We apprehended them before it happened,” he told TODAY when contacted on Monday, adding that Leonardo has been taken to Jakarta for further investigations.

When contacted, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spokesperson said it has been in touch with its Indonesian counterparts on the case and has nothing further to add at this juncture.

Batam Pos website reported Mr Budigusdian saying that the suspect revealed during questioning that he was offered a job in Marina Bay by his friend’s mother, who is based in Medan.

“Based on the questioning, (Leornardo) said he was to depart to Singapore and was offered a job to work with a cleaning service (company) and as a night market helper by his friend’s mother. He accepted the offer when he was still in Medan.”

Mr Budigusdian also said Leornardo confessed that the woman who hired him had also asked him to look for five other friends to work in Singapore. He added that Leonardo would travel to Singapore with the help of the mother of another friend in Batam via the Batam Centre Point ferry terminal.

Mr Budigusdian told TODAY that the police are still investigating whether the woman who offered Leonardo the job had any links to the attack plot. He also said the suspect was apprehended before he could look for others to work in Singapore. 

Leornardo was arrested on Saturday during an operation by the counterterrorism squad at a cyber cafe in Batu Aji, Batam. A mobile phone, a motorcycle and a wallet were also confiscated. 

The authorities also found an airsoft gun resembling an AK101 and two bank books, two ATM cards, a welding course certificate and a diary, following subsequent raids on the homes of his friend and two of his sisters.

Leonardo was said to be part of the Batam-based KGR@Katibah GR, headed by Gigih Rahmat Dewa. The police last month said Gigih, a 31-year-old factory worker, had planned to attack Marina Bay with a rocket. The group is said to have links to Syria-based Islamic State (IS) militant Bahrun Naim, who has encouraged attacks in Singapore.

Details of the alleged rocket plot, however, remain sketchy. It is also unclear what sort of rocket the group had planned to use.

Mr Budigusdian also told TODAY the police took a month before they could apprehend Leonardo because the interrogation of his alleged accomplices took time. 

“We need to ascertain the veracity of the information before we can move in,” he said, adding that the police will continue to look for other suspects involved in the plot. WITH AGENCIES

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