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Self-radicalised 15-year-old deemed an ‘imminent security threat’, would have carried out violent plans if not detained: ISD

SINGAPORE — A 15-year-old self-radicalised student who has been detained by law last December was assessed by the Internal Security Department (ISD) to be posing an imminent security threat that warranted preventive detention.

Self-radicalised 15-year-old deemed an ‘imminent security threat’, would have carried out violent plans if not detained: ISD
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  • ISD detained a teenager under the Internal Security Act and issued a Restriction Order to another
  • The two were found to be supporting terror groups and activities
  • As to why they received different treatments, ISD said that the younger boy aged 15 was an "imminent security threat" and was detained
  • The older boy aged 16 was not regarded as such because he did not intend or plan to conduct armed violence in Singapore or abroad

SINGAPORE — A 15-year-old self-radicalised student who has been detained by law last December was assessed by the Internal Security Department (ISD) to be posing an imminent security threat that warranted preventive detention.

Another teenager, a self-radicalised 16-year-old who was caught in January, did not have intentions to conduct armed violence in Singapore or overseas and was therefore placed under a Restriction Order and not detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

In response to TODAY’s queries on why the two boys were dealt with differently and the reasons for detaining the younger teenager, ISD said that these were part of its "calibrated approach" in determining the interventions required for radicalised individuals, which is based on a holistic assessment of the security threat that the person poses. 

The two students were online contacts of another teenager, 18-year-old Muhammad Irfan Danyal Mohamad Nor, who was detained under the ISA last December.

The trio got acquainted through an extremist channel on Discord, which is a voice, video and text chat application popular with video gamers.

ISD said that the 15-year-old was willing to undertake armed violence either in Singapore or overseas to establish an Islamic caliphate.

He had also considered carrying out attacks here against non-Muslims because he was "steeped in the belief" that “disbelievers” should be killed.

"Had he not been detained, he would have gone on to carry out his violent ideations and plans," ISD told TODAY.

On the other hand, the 16-year-old did not intend or plan to conduct armed violence here or abroad.  

Athough he still posed a security threat given his steadfast support for the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) and armed violence, “the threat was not assessed to be imminent", ISD said. 

This was why he was given a Restriction Order subjecting him to strict supervision instead of being detained.  

A Restriction Order means that he has to abide by several conditions, such as being barred from accessing the internet or social media, as well as any travel out of Singapore without approval. 

Both boys will undergo a comprehensive and holistic rehabilitation programme to counter the radical ideologies that they have taken in and address their propensity for violence, ISD added.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said before that Singapore does not tolerate people who are thinking of supporting terrorist organisations.

“We've made clear our policy that if you think of going abroad to fight for any cause, we will arrest you,” he said last month when ISD announced that it had detained a 38-year-old teacher who was planning to travel to Gaza in Palestine to join a militant group and fight against the Israeli military.

He added: “We have a zero-tolerance approach. We have arrested others who have similarly thought of going to fight. We don’t, like some other countries, wait until you actually take steps to go… We take steps when you start planning.”


On how to tackle extremist influence in the video gaming sphere, ISD told TODAY that it is a "whole-of-society endeavour". 

It said that the authorities can and have blocked access to harmful online content.

However, it may not be possible to block specific chat groups or channels on social media channels or sites without cutting off all access to entire platforms for Singapore users.

Furthermore, new platforms and accounts can also easily resurface.

ISD added that the public has a part to play — by being sensitised to the dangers of extremist ideas and not watching or disseminating extremist content, regardless of the channel or online site.  

Industry involvement is also critical and ISD acknowledged that technology companies have stepped up efforts in recent years to prevent and disrupt terrorists’ abuse of their online platforms and services.

"We welcome their continued efforts in this area, which will go towards creating a safe digital space for everyone.”   

In a post on his personal Facebook page, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State for Home Affairs, urged the public to look out for their loved ones when they are taking in content online.

"Extremist and terrorist groups are known to target youths online as they are more impressionable and easily influenced in their search for a sense of identity, purpose and belonging," Assoc Prof Faishal said. 

"Stay vigilant to signs that someone may have become self-radicalised. Anyone who knows or suspects that a person has been radicalised should promptly contact the ISD Counter-Terrorism Centre hotline at 1800-2626-473." 

Related topics

ISD terrorism Internal Security Act

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