Singapore, Jan.28 (Reuters) – Singapore arrested a 16-year-old for intending to attack two mosques, authorities said over plans inspired by the murder of Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019.
The boy, an anonymous Christian of Indian origin, had purchased a tactical vest online and also intended to purchase a machete at the time of his arrest in December, the Department of Homeland Security (ISD) said on Wednesday in a statement.
He had scouted mosques near his home, with the aim of live streaming his attack and prepared statements referring to Christchurch striker Brenton Tarrant serving a life sentence for killing 51 worshipers Muslims and injured dozens more on March 15, 2019.
“He could only foresee two outcomes to his plan: that he would be arrested before he was able to carry out the attacks, or he would execute the plan and then be killed by the police,” ISD said, adding that ‘he planned to carry out the plan. attack on the anniversary of the Christchurch murders.
The boy is the youngest to be detained under Singapore’s colonial-era Homeland Security Act, which allows authorities to detain anyone deemed to be a security threat for a period of up to two years.
He is also the first in the low-crime island nation to be detained on charges of far-right ideology, as there have been a number of cases of Islamic extremism, including a 17-year-old arrested for supporting Islamic State last year.
It was not immediately clear how long the 16-year-old would be held. Home Secretary K. Shanmugam said on Wednesday he would receive psychological assistance and be able to continue his education while in detention, but may not be subject to lawsuits.
“Looks like in a court he was only thinking about it. He planned it, but he hasn’t taken a step yet. So in many countries, without laws similar to the Homeland Security Act, you can’t move early until there is another act of preparation, ”Shanmugam told local television station ChannelNewsAsia.