An auxiliary police officer who was deployed to Woodlands Checkpoint has been detained for planning to travel to Syria to take part in armed violence, while his colleague has been put under a restriction order for supporting him.
Muhammad Khairul Mohamed, 24, an auxiliary police officer at the traffic enforcement division at Woodlands Checkpoint, was arrested in May and detained under the Internal Security Act, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Tuesday (Jun 20).
He was deployed by AETOS, the second-largest of three licensed auxiliary police organisations in Singapore, to the checkpoint as an outrider. His duties did not require him to be armed, MHA said.
Khairul became radicalised as early as 2012 – prior to joining AETOS in May 2015 – when he went online to gather more information about the conflict in Syria after reading about it on mainstream media.
“He developed the view that the conflict in Syria was a sectarian struggle between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam, and being a Sunni Muslim, he wanted to fight against the Shi’ites in Syria by joining the Free Syrian Army,” the ministry said.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is a group founded by defectors of the Syrian Armed Forces, whose aim is to use armed violence to overthrow the Syrian government led by President Bashar Al-Assad, who is backed by the minority Shia Alawite sect.
Khairul perceived the Syrian conflict to be a holy war in which he was prepared to die in battle as a martyr and receive “divine rewards”, MHA said.
In 2014, he tried to reach out to a foreign militant on Facebook, as well as two other individuals whom he believed to be FSA supporters, to find out how he could make his way to Syria.
At the time of his arrest, Khairul was still interested in joining FSA or any other militant groups operating in Syria and engage in armed violence there, the ministry said.
“His readiness and proclivity to resort to violence in pursuit of a religious cause makes him a security threat to Singapore,” it said.
The ministry also reiterated that friends or relatives of a person who may be radicalised or intends to undertake acts of violence should report him to the authorities.
In the case of Khairul, several relatives and friends knew of his intentions but none of them came forward, MHA said.