24 Jan 2002

Government News Release on the ISA arrests -Videotape Footage of Yishun MRT, 24 January 2002

In the government press statement of 11 January 2002, we made reference to the videotape of the Yishun MRT (subway station), and released a 3-minute video clip extracted from the videotape. This videotape, which was recovered in Afghanistan in the rubbles of the house of an Al Qaeda leader Abu Hafs@Mohd Atef, was handed over to the Internal Security Department (ISD) by a foreign liaison partner on 28 December 2001.

2 Investigations in recent days have found new evidence that supports further the finding of a clear link between the detainees and the Al Qaeda.

3 One of the detainees, Mohamed Khalim bin Jaffar, revealed to investigators recently that he had kept some items in a secret compartment in his home. In the presence of his wife, ISD officers searched his home and found these items, which included a videotape of the Yishun MRT footage and a hard disk. Khalim had earlier claimed that the hard disk had been thrown away.

4 The videotape found in Khalim's secret compartment is the same as the videotape that ISD received from its foreign liaison counterpart on 28 December 2001. This videotape, however, has no voice commentary, and hence, is likely to be the original tape.

5 Investigators also found the hard disk that Khalim mentioned, but with the files erased. Forensic investigation recovered a file titled "Security of an Organisation". The computer file was on how to avoid detection and how to maintain secrecy.

6 Investigators have also learned that the videotape, which Khalim produced, was handed over by detainee Faiz Abu Bakar Bafana to a Al-Qaeda leader called Abu Hafs @ Mohd Atef in Afghanistan. It is understood that Abu Hafs was one of Osama bin Laden's lieutenants, and recent media reports have suggested that he may have died in Afghanistan.

7 Commenting on the new findings, the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Wong Kan Seng, said,

"The new finding shows a very direct link between the Jemaah Islamiyah group detained here and Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan.

The cracking of this case shows that Singapore is on top of the situation.

Singapore remains a safe place. The Singapore Government will not hesitate to take strong and pre-emptive action against anyone threatening the peace and security of Singapore. In order to keep Singapore safe and secure, we will take action against any terrorist groups or individuals who try to cause harm to Singapore. Our security and intelligence agencies work closely with foreign counterparts in the global fight against terrorism."

8 During these months, the Advisory Board is doing a full review of the case. Appointed by the President under the Constitution of Singapore, the Advisory Board is headed by Justice Chao Hick Tin. The evidence and investigation will be examined by the Board. The detainees have the right of representation to the Board with legal counsels of their choice, to assist them. Even if the detainee declines to make representation, the Board must review his case within 15 months. On top of that, the President has veto powers on the detention. While in detention, the detainees are allowed weekly visits from their families and to carry out their religious obligations.

9 Investigations are still ongoing.

Last Updated on 18 Jun 2015
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