Singapore fears ISIS threat, detains teenagers for planning attacks on Islamic State-themed gaming server

Singapore fears ISIS threat, detains teenagers for planning attacks on Islamic State-themed gaming server

One of the accused used online gaming platform ‘Roblox’ to create a fantasy world. Image courtesy: Singapore Internal Security Department

Singapore: Two young boys between the age of 15 and 16 have been issued under Internal Security Act in Singapore for terrorism-related activities. It has been revealed that both boys were radicalised through an Islamic State-themed (ISIS) gaming server.

One of the two accused, a 15-year-old boy, has become the youngest person to be issued with the law. He has been detained since November 2022, the Internal Security Department (ISD) said in a statement.

The other accused was issued a restriction order in January, which limited his movements and prevented him from making any public statements.

Both the accused boys have remained unnamed owing to their age.

The 15-year-old, it has been revealed, planned on carrying out knife attacks in Singapore and beheading non-Muslims in a popular tourist area and aspired to become a suicide bomber.

ISD’s statement added, “At the point of his arrest, the youth was deeply entrenched in his radical views, but had yet to undertake any steps towards actualising his attack ideations.”

Accused used ‘Roblox’ to plot terrorist acts

Details put out by ISD suggest that the crimes of the 16-year-old first came to light after authorities noticed that the boy joined multiple Islamic State-themed servers on an online gaming platform called ‘Roblox’.

In the game, the boy created replicated Islamic States of Iraq and Syria. According to SCMP, the boy identified himself as an “ISIS member” and took allegiance to an in-game “ISIS leader.”

He also played out his fantasies in the game. He would kill and shoot enemies, and proclaim himself as the “spokesperson” and “chief propagandist” working for his virtual ISIS faction, the ISD can reveal.

‘Concerning’ trend of radicalised youths in Singapore

Since 2015, as many as 11 youths under the age of 21 have been punished under ISA. Out of these, seven were detained and four were handed out restriction orders.

The trend has been described as “concerning” by Singapore’s Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam.

He said, “Since 2015 – the last seven years plus – we have dealt with nine young people, aged 20 and below, under the ISA. So yes, it is a trend that is concerning.”

“The three recent cases that we’ve picked up were all young boys, radicalised online,” he told Channel News Asia.

What is ISA?

The Internal Security Act gives Singapore’s home affairs minister power to detain individuals without trial for a two-year term which can later be renewed at the minister’s discretion.

It is one of the most controversial and hugely contested laws in Singapore.

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