There was an apparent security lapse in the recent militant escape – that he escaped on his way to meet his family when he asked to go to the toilet. This came as quite a surprised because if the same protocol is used here as in Changi Prison, one can imagine how many inmates would have escaped from the prison.

People locally and worldwide are reacting to this in various manners. Indonesia has also joined in the manhunt and is securing its borders. However, Indonesia believes that Mas is unlikely to be hiding in Indonesia because he is thought to be well recognised by the locals and that he had been jailed for previous offences – and thus it is improbable that he’d put himself in danger of being recognised and deported back to Singapore. Of course, Indonesia conveniently taichi’d this to Malaysia.

In the local scene, security had been stepped up in SCGS, which is located just next to Malcolm Park. However, despite all the action going on, the students in the school remained calm and cooperative. To most of them, it is like a scene taken out from the movies.

The sad truth is, if this guy manages to get his acts together, this will be more than a movie.

Below, the article on the security lapse in Singapore. DPM Wong Kan Seng urged the public that they should be vigilant of their surroundings and to report any suspicious persons to the police. He also reiterated that it is an offence to help a criminal in any way. However, a statement made by him, that we should all not speculate on what happened, tickled me. I always thought that the government always wants to dig to the bottom of the truth for everything that happens in Singapore. Hmmm…

A ‘SECURITY LAPSE’ led to the escape of the leader of the Singapore’s wing of the Islamic militant network, Jemaah Islamiah (JI), and drew an apology from Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng on Thursday.

Mr Wong Kan Seng, who is the Deputy Prime Minister, told Parliament that Mas Selamat Kastari, who walks with a limp, escaped from the toilet of the Whitley Road Detention Centre, near a wooded park on Wednesday afternoon.

Acknowledging that the security lapse ‘should have never happened’, Mr Wong said all stops are being pulled out to capture the JI militant, who was linked to a sensational plot to crash a hijacked plane onto Changi Airport.

He is still on the run more than 24 hours after he fled on Wednesday at about 4.05 pm, as a massive manhunt involving thousands of police, military and special operation command forces continue to track him down.

The JI has been blamed for several deadly bombing attacks in Southeast Asia, including the 2002 bombings that killed more than 200 people on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.

Mas Selamat left Singapore after plots to attack Changi Airport and other targets, including the US embassy, the American Club and the Singapore American School, were foiled seven years ago.

Nearly 40 other suspected members of JI were rounded up.

He was arrested by the Indonesian police on the Indonesian island of Bintan in January 2006 and sent back to Singapore.

He had since been held under Singapore’s Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial.

Giving an update on how the JI leader escaped on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Wong said he was being led to a room to meet his family members who were visiting him when he asked to go to the toilet.

Mr Wong apologised for the ‘security lapse at the Whitley Detention Centre’.

‘This should never have happened. I am sorry that it had. An independent investigation is underway and we should not speculate on what and how it happened,’ he said, adding that security at the centre had since been stepped up.

Mr Wong added: ‘He is a security threat which is why he was placed under preventive detention, However, there is no information that he has any plans that threaten public security. Nevertheless, we are not taking any chances.’

On why the public was informed of the escape only four hours after the escape, Mr Wong said the escape posed no ‘imminent danger to the public’ at the time.

‘The focus then was to lock down the Whitley Road detention centre and then to start a systemic operation to find and arrest him. The priority is to arrest him and no effort will be spared to track him down,’ he said.

Elaborating, he added that the security at all the air, land and sea checkpoints have been tightened, including ‘the areas where he may leave our shores not from the normal immigration clearance areas’.

He also warned that anyone who helps Mat Selamat would be committing a serious offence. ‘I urge the public to stay calm and report any suspicious sightings to the police immediately,’ he said.

Indonesia taichi:

THE Indonesian police raised the alert on its border on Thursday after Singapore said a militant group leader had escaped and possibly headed to Indonesian territories, especially through small islands in Riau.

‘Singapore has contacted us and they want us to take measures to prevent the suspect, Mas Selamet Kastari, from escaping to Indonesia,’ Riau Islands provincial police chief Brig Gen Sutarman was quoted by the national Antara news agency as saying.

Sutarman said Singapore police had asked for close coordination with Riau Islands police to recapture the fugitive. ‘They have also sent out a red notice,’ he said.

He added Mas Selamat once lived in Riau and Java ‘so he knows Indonesia well’.

‘He knows well how to enter Indonesia,’ said Sutarman.

The JI militant was arrested in Indonesia for immigration offences several years ago and then deported to Singapore who sought him for a plot to blow up the Changi Airport and hijack a Singapore plane.

Separately, National Police spokesman Sisno Adiwinoto said it was less likely that Mas Selamat would hide in Indonesia, where he has been jailed twice and local people were familiar with his face, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

‘He is possibly still somewhere in Singapore, or already in Malaysia by now,’ Sisno told Jakarta-based Metro TV.

The Indonesian Police will remain cooperative with their Singapore’s counterpart as it did when first deported Slamet.

‘This is a terrorism case, we must be vigilant,’ he said.

‘And we hope that Singapore will be cooperative too in capturing Indonesian criminals and sending them back to Indonesia, primarily those convicted of economic crimes,’ he said.

Mas Selamat bin Kastari, the alleged leader of al Qaeda-linked Islamic militant network Jemaah Islamiah’s (JI) Singapore cell, escaped on Wednesday from the toilet of a detention centre.

The JI has been blamed for several deadly bombing attacks in South-east Asia, including the 2002 bombings that killed more than 200 people on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.

The escape led to an apology from the government over the ‘security lapse’, and a manhunt involving thousands of policemen.

Experts said they believed Mas Selamat would try to return to Indonesia, where security is generally viewed as not as tight compared with Singapore.

‘I believe he will try to get into Indonesia where he could avoid being detained a lot easier than in Singapore,’ said Clive Williams, a professor at Australia’s Macquarie University, who lectures on terrorism.

The city-state, which has a population of 4.6 million, has a wide network of surveillance cameras in public areas and security breaches are rare.

Wong Kan Seng, Singapore’s minister for home affairs, acknowledged the lapse should never have happened and said everything was being done to arrest Mas Selamat.

‘The priority is to arrest him, no effort will be spared to track him down,’ Mr Wong told members of the parliament.

Tightened borders
Mr Wong said the city-state’s land, air and sea borders have been tightened in view of Mas Selamat’s escape.

Singapore is linked by a bridge to neigbouring Malaysia and it only takes an hour by ferry to the Indonesian island of Bintan.

Mas Selamat, who was allegedly behind a plot to hijack a plane and crash it into Singapore’s Changi Airport, was an important and dangerous member of the JI, experts said.

‘He is a significant individual in the terror network and a ruthless terrorist,’ said Singapore-based Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research.

‘Mas Selamat was committed not only to the JI cause but the Al Qaeda cause of global jihad as well. He poses a threat not only to Singapore but the region,’ Mr Gunaratna said.

Singapore, a strong US ally and a major base for Western businesses, sees itself as a prime terrorist target in the region and has said it foiled JI plots in 2001 to attack various Western-linked sites, including the US embassy. — REUTERS

Malaysia tightening their borders, probably unaware of being taichi’d:

KUALA LUMPUR – MALAYSIAN police have stepped up security on the border after an alleged leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network escaped from custody in neighbouring Singapore, a top official said on Thursday.

Mas Selamat bin Kastari, who was accused of planning to hijack a plane and crash it into Changi Airport in Singapore, escaped from a detention centre on Wednesday.

Musa Hassan, inspector general of police, said security forces have beefed up patrols and have distributed photos of Mas Selamat to various enforcement agencies.

Mohamad Mokhtar, police chief of the Malaysian state of Johor which borders the city-state, was coordinating with Singapore police in the manhunt, Musa said.

‘We will give our fullest cooperation,’ he said. Singapore has launched a massive search for Mas Selamat.

The city-state, a staunch US ally, has said it is a top target for extremists and has taken elaborate security measures to prevent an attack. Singapore authorities arrested 15 people in December 2001 – 13 of whom were suspected JI members – who were allegedly planning to attack a bus carrying Americans to a subway station. — AFP

Articles obtained from on 28th February 2008

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