A 16-year-old boy who planned to attack Muslims in Singapore has been held by the Internal Security Department since last month, the agency announced today.
The unnamed teenager planned copycat attacks, the authorities said, on the Yusof Ishak and Assyafaah mosques on March 15, the two-year anniversary of a mass murder perpetrated in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“First, he planned to carry out his attacks on 15 March 2021, the anniversary of the Christchurch attacks. He chose Assyafaah Mosque and Yusof Ishak Mosque as his targets, because they were near his home. He conducted online reconnaissance and research on both mosques to prepare for the attack.”
The targeted mosques are located 10 minutes apart from each other.
It’s the first known time Singapore has detained someone with right-wing views under the Internal Security Act. The boy is also by far the youngest individual to be detained as a potential national security threat.
The agency said it was “clear from the attack plans and preparations” that the teen was influenced by the 2019 Christchurch attack that left 51 dead. The attacker was sentenced to life in prison last year.
According to the authorities, the teenager, a Secondary 4 student, subsequently revealed to officers his detailed attack plan.
The boy had planned to drive to both mosques and attack worshippers with a machete while live-streaming the incident from a camera strapped to a tactical vest, the department said. The boy planned to use his father’s credit card to rent a BlueSG car-sharing vehicle, they said, noting he had bookmarked a machete listed for sale on Carousell.
Similar to how the manifesto published at the outset of the Christchurch massacre, the boy was in the middle of preparing two documents he planned to make public prior to his own attack. One had been completed upon his arrest and had called upon the French to “stand up for what is right” in response to an Islamist terror attack last year in Nice, France.
“The detailed planning and preparation attests to the youth’s determination to follow through with his attack plan,” ISD added in its statement. “He admitted during the investigation that he could only foresee two outcomes to his plan – that he is arrested before he is able to carry out the attacks, or he executes the plan and is thereafter killed by the Police.”
Investigators concluded that he was acting alone and that neither his family nor friends were aware of his plans or hatred for Islam.
He is also expected to continue his studies while in custody and attend counseling.