Eight Indonesians were arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint after the authorities found several Islamic State images on one of their mobile phones.
Images were the Islamic State flag, an Islamic State “activity” and a homemade shoe bomb (we will come to that later).
A quick timeline of their travel route before entering Singapore:
The group flew to Kuala Lumpur from Padang in West Sumatra on Jan 3 to preach and for the leader of the group, Ridce Elfi Hendra, to seek medical treatment.
On Jan 7, they travelled to Pattani Thailand (southern province of Thailand where majority are Malay Muslims) to learn about the education system at the Islamic Education Board in the area. Then, they headed back to Malaysia before attempting to enter Singapore on Wednesday (Jan 11).
It was about 1.30am when the Singapore authorities denied their entrance and put a “Not To Land” stamp on their passports.
What is a shoe bomb?
It is an explosive device concealed within the heel and sole of a shoe.
It was just two months after the 9/11 tragedy.
With bombs in his shoes, it was not sure how he successfully passed security checks at the airport custom and happily boarded the plane.
90 minutes into the flight, a flight attendant smelled a burnt match and was directed by passengers to Reid who put a match into his mouth after being confronted.
He tried to light another match and set fire to the inner tongue of his sneaker after the captain was alerted on this issue.
The flight attendant then tried to grab the shoe when she saw a wire protruding from the sneaker. Reid, who is much bigger, pushed her into the bulkhead.
After several struggles, two doctors on the plane managed to sedate him before the plane landed in Boston.
kudos to customs authorities
With heightened terrorism threats, customs authorities can’t afford to be lax, even at odd hours.
Since the ‘shoe bomb’ scare, some airports require passengers to remove shoes while going through the scanner.
At Changi Airport, officers conduct full-body pat-downs and they’re also testing out a new-generation body scanner which is supposedly better in protecting passengers’ privacy.
Well done for keeping us safe all year round!
And don’t worry about the group of Indonesians – they are currently detained and questioned by the Indonesian police’s special counterterrorism unit, Densus 88.
Keep calm and continue to stay vigilant.