Singapore detains 3 Indonesian maids for suspected terrorism financing

Kyodo News

Posted at Sep 23 2019 09:41 PM

Singapore has detained three female Indonesian domestic workers under its Internal Security Act for alleged radicalization, the government said Monday.

The three women have been issued with detention orders while investigations into their alleged terrorism financing activities continue, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on its website.

Anindia Afiyantari, 33, Retno Hernayani, 36, and 31-year-old Turmini have worked as domestic workers in the city-state for between six and 13 years, according to the statement.

They allegedly posted material online in support of Islamic State and donated funds to overseas-based entities for terrorism-related purposes, it said.

A fourth Indonesian domestic worker was also arrested as part of the investigation. However, she has since been repatriated as she was not found to be radicalized and had only failed to report the others' activities to the authorities.

Since 2015, Singapore has arrested 16 foreign domestic workers who were found to have been "radicalized" but they were all repatriated without any detention orders.

The fact that the three women have been detained suggests the possibility that they could have been involved in terrorism financing.

They developed a network of pro-militant foreign online contacts, including "online boyfriends" who shared their pro-IS ideology and became strong supporters of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah.

JAD, an Indonesia-based IS-affiliated terrorist group, has been banned by the Indonesian government and blamed for a number of terrorist attacks and foiled plots in Indonesia in recent years.

Anindia and Retno "harbored the intention to travel to Syria to join IS," the statement said.

Anindia was also prepared to take up arms for IS in Syria and become a suicide bomber, while Retno aspired to live among IS fighters in Syria and participate in the conflict there, it added.

In its terrorism threat assessment report 2019 issued in January this year, the ministry said the terrorism threat to Singapore remains high, adding that security agencies continue to maintain high vigilance.