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“Limping Terorist” escapes – 10 questions for Wong Kan Seng

Channel NewsAsia (CNA):

“Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng has cited a lapse in security at the Whitley Detention Centre on Wednesday as the cause for the escape of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) member Mas Selamat Kastari.”

1. Given that Mas Selamat Kastari was considered Singapore’s number one most wanted, how did such a “lapse” occur?

“Mas Selamat had been taken from his cell to another part of the detention centre for a visit from his family. He then asked to be allowed to visit the toilet, where he escaped.”

2. Wasn’t Mas Selamat Kastari handcuffed or restrained when he was being transported to meet his family? How many guards were assigned to him? How was he able to escape from the toilet of a detention centre? Are there open windows for detainees to escape? Why is Singapore’s number one most wanted detained in a facility which obviously is not secure?

3. How long was it before his guards realized he was missing?

“Mr Wong described Mas Selamat as a security threat, which is why he was placed under preventive detention.”

“The security assessment was that the escape posed no imminent danger to the public.”

4. Mr Wong’s two statements above, as reported by CNA, seem to be contradictory? Mas Selamat Kastari was a “security threat” but is not an “imminent danger to the public”?

“That was because the security assessment was that the escape posed no imminent danger to the public.”

5. He is Singapore’s number one terrorist and most-wanted. On what basis does the minister claim that he posed no threat to the public.

Straits Times:

“An independent investigation is underway and we should not speculate on what and how it happened.”

6. What sort of independent investigation is underway? Who are part of this “independent investigation”?

“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.”

8. Are there security surveillance facilities on the premises such as cctvs, watchtowers, etc? How long did the “systemic operation to find and arrest him” last before the authorities realized that he has escaped out of the detention centre itself?

“Mr Wong said the focus was to lock down the detention centre before starting a systematic operation to search for the fugitive and arrest him.”

9. How long did it take the authorities to lock down the detention centre? Aren’t lockdowns suppose to be quick and fast for exactly instances such as this when someone is thought to have escaped?

10. Ah Hao, Richard Yong, “Limping Terrorist” Mas Selamat Kasturi – they all escaped in one way or another in recent years. Given these incidents, can Mas Selamat Kastuari’s escape be regarded as just a mere “security lapse”, as the minister described it? Should a thorough overhaul of security procedures be considered?

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