Singapore Media Watch

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Singapore: Terror suspect fled toilet

(CNN) -- A suspected terror leader has fled from a detention center in Singapore after asking to use the toilet, Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Sen has admitted.

"This should never have happened," Wong told lawmakers on Thursday. "I am sorry that it had."

Thousands of security forces fanned out across Singapore in an island-wide hunt for the suspect who is accused of plotting to crash a plane into the country's airport.

Mas Selamat Kastari, suspected leader of the Islamist militant group Jemaah Islamiyah's Singapore arm, escaped from the detention center on Wednesday afternoon.

"Mas Selamat was the leader of the Singapore (Jemaah Islamiyah) network. He walks with a limp and is presently at large," the Home Affairs Ministry in a statement according to The Associated Press.

Police set up roadblocks across the country, checking cars and choking traffic, local media reported. Paramilitary forces in trucks were deployed on city streets.

Jemaah Islamiyah is thought to have links to al Qaeda and is suspected of being behind the 2002 nightclub bombings in the Indonesian island of Bali that killed more than 200 mostly Western tourists.

Singapore is a strong U.S. ally and one of the world's most prosperous countries with strong international trading links.

Mas Selamet fled the southeast Asian country in 2001 after authorities cracked down on Jemaah Islamiyah and arrested dozens of its members.

To retaliate, Mas Selamet plotted to hijack a plane and crash it into Singapore's main airport, Changi, the Home Affairs Ministry said. The plot was never carried out.

He is also suspected of being behind plans to attacks the U.S. Embassy and a government building.

Indonesian authorities arrested Mas Selamet on immigration violation charges in 2003. Three years later, he was deported to Singapore, the Home Affairs ministry said.

He was being held under Singapore's Internal Security Act, which allows authorities to indefinitely detain someone without trial.

Source: CNN


  • ST did not feature this CNN article in their writeup about international media reporting of this escape, because of the title of the CNN report.

    Escape makes headlines overseas
    (dated March 2, 2008)

    Click here

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:43 PM  

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