Published: 16 March 2016
1. Four Singapore citizens have been separately dealt with under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for undertaking or intending to undertake violence in overseas armed conflicts. Mohammad Razif bin Yahya (Razif) and Amiruddin bin Sawir (Amiruddin) were detained under the ISA in August 2015, while Mohamed Mohideen bin Mohamed Jais (Mohideen) and Wang Yuandongyi (Wang) were issued with Restriction Orders (ROs) under the ISA in March 2016.
Mohammad Razif bin Yahya and Amiruddin bin Sawir
2. Razif (aged 27) and Amiruddin (aged 53) were detained for voluntarily taking up arms and participating in the armed sectarian conflict in Yemen. They had commenced religious studies in a religious institution in Yemen in January 2010 and July 2013 respectively and volunteered to undertake armed sentry duties at the religious institution against any incursion by the Houthis (who are Shi'ites). Razif, who was variously armed with an AK-47 rifle and a Dragunov sniper rifle, had volunteered for sniper training which he put into practice when fighting the Houthis. Amiruddin, who was armed with an AK-47 rifle, was also involved in a fire-fight with the Houthis.
3. Razif and Amiruddin were prepared to kill and be killed as 'martyrs' in the sectarian conflict in Yemen. By taking up arms in Yemen, they have demonstrated a readiness to use violence to pursue their religious cause. As such, they are assessed to pose a security threat to Singapore.
Mohamed Mohideen bin Mohamed Jais
4. Mohideen (aged 25) had performed armed sentry duties in Yemen while pursuing religious studies there from 2009 to early 2011. He understood that he had to return fire using the AK-47 assigned to him, with the aim to kill if there was an incursion by the Houthis. During his stint, Mohideen did not encounter any situation that required him to open fire. He has since been placed on an RO under the ISA with effect from March 2016.
5. Wang (aged 23) intended to travel to Syria to join a Kurdish militia group that is fighting against the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He left Singapore in January 2016 for a third country, from where he intended to make his way to Turkey and onward to Syria. Someone who became aware of his plans reported him. On the request of Singapore, Wang was located by the authorities of the third country and was turned back to Singapore. He was arrested under the ISA and placed on an RO with effect from March 2016.
6. Investigations showed that Wang first learnt about the Kurds through newsfeeds in November 2015 and subsequently looked up information online about ISIS' attacks against the Kurds in Syria. He began to empathise with the plight of the Kurds and to detest ISIS. At the same time, he was looking to escape from personal setbacks, like his financial liabilities arising from a failed business venture. In December 2015, Wang initiated online contact with a Kurdish militia group to express his interest to join the group in their fight against ISIS. At the same time, he communicated with like-minded individuals online about joining the militia group and had discussed with at least two such individuals about possible travel routes to Syria. When he left Singapore with the intention to fight in Syria, he brought with him some Singapore Armed Forces-issued military gear like his uniform and boots which he planned to use in the battlefield.
7. The Government takes a stern view against anyone who supports, promotes, undertakes or makes preparations to undertake armed violence, regardless of how they rationalise such violence ideologically, or where the violence takes place. In the case of Wang, even though his motivation to join the Kurdish militia group and fight against ISIS in Syria was not ideologically-driven, the fact remains that he intended to engage in an armed conflict overseas. Geography does not mask the fact that such individuals would have demonstrated a dangerous tendency to support the use of violence. Their involvement in overseas conflicts can also jeopardise Singapore's national interests, including our bilateral relations. They are deemed to pose a threat to Singapore's security, and will be firmly dealt with in accordance with our laws.
8. Anyone who is aware of a person becoming involved in terrorism-related activities, including planning or taking steps to travel to conflict zones to take part in an armed conflict, or who observes suspicious activities or signs of radicalisation, should promptly inform the Internal Security Department (1800-2626-ISD) or the Police (999).