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Singapore thwarts Christchurch-style mosque machete attack by 'far-right influenced teenager'

The boy had planned attacks on two mosques in the city state [Getty/ Archive]

Date of publication: 28 January, 2021

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The teenager will not be charged due to his young age, a minister has said.
Singapore police thwarted a major terror attack on two mosques planned by a 16-year-old suspect, authorities said on Wednesday.

The unnamed teenager - who has been identified as being of Indian Protestant Christian background - planned to carry out the attacks on 15 March, to coincide with the second anniversary of the Christchurch terror massacre in New Zealand, authorities said.

The Southeast Asian state's Internal Security Department (ISD) reported that the secondary school student was "influenced by" Christchurch attacker Brenton Tarrant, the Australian white supremacist who murdered 51 Muslims in 2019.

Authorities say that the boy had planned to attack the Assyafaah and Yusof Ishak mosques, while also live-streaming the planned murders as Tarrant had done.

The ISD said the boy was arrested on 26 November and held under Singapore's Internal Security Act (ISA). He is the youngest person ever to be held by the security agency and the country's first suspect arrested in relation to far-right extremism.

'Chilling'

Local media reports said the teenager had initially planned to steal his father's credit card to rent a vehicle and purchase a rifle for the attack. He reportedly searched the internet for ways to obtain a firearm, however, later opted for a machete attack after seeing a blade for sale online.

He also purchased a vest bearing extreme right-wing symbols, according to Today Online.

Singapore's law and home affairs minister described the plot as "chilling", however, he ruled out prosecuting the teenager due to his age.

"Violent impulses, I've said this many times, is not restricted to any particular racial group or religious group. It can occur among anyone. It's really a question of being exposed to hate speech and then being influenced by it," Minister K. Shanmugam said.

The teenager is currently undergoing rehabilitation counselling and has been questioned with his parents present.


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