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HomesingaporeGrenade attack, anonymous death threats: A rare glimpse into the dangers faced...

Grenade attack, anonymous death threats: A rare glimpse into the dangers faced by ISD officers over 75 years

SINGAPORE — From a planned gas cylinder explosion attack to an actual assassination-by-hand-grenade attempt, anecdotes and artefacts not seen by the public before that depict the dangers faced by Internal Security Department (ISD) officers were revealed for the first time on Tuesday (Oct 24).

Both officers were badly hurt but survived the attack.

Anonymous death threat with three ‘treasures’

An anonymous threat was sent to the Special Branch in November 1950.

The note containing the threat was sent together with three empty bullet shells and reads:

“Police Inspectors, these three ‘treasures’ are for you. We will visit you when we have the opportunity”.

JI members’ confession on plans to harm ISD officers

The early 2000s saw the ISD cracking down on an active local cell of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network, which had planned attacks on various targets in Singapore.

In response, the terrorist group members made active plans to harm ISD officers to resist arrest — by means of bladed weapons or setting off an explosion.

Here are some redacted excerpts of their confessions and statements:

Kidnap and exchange for detained extremists

When some fellow JI members were arrested, one had suggested that “worse come to worse, the only thing we can do is to kidnap an ISD officer and ask for the release of (redacted)”.

An ISD officer, only identified by his initials IAR, said this of the kidnapping plan: “This strengthened our officers’ determination to neutralise the JI threat.”

‘Laju’ ferry hijacking

Four armed terrorists staged an attack on an oil refinery facility on Pulau Bukom Besar, south of mainland Singapore.

After the failed attack, the four then hijacked a ferry called Laju and held its crew members hostage in exchange for a safe passage out of Singapore.

Pages from the Bukom/Laju case report displayed a car used by the hijackers, armed with improvised hand grenades.

The hijackers demanded that 13 Singapore government officials accompanied them on their flight out of Singapore as guarantor for their safety.

The 13 volunteers included the late former President S R Nathan, who was then director of security and intelligence at the Ministry of Defence, and former ISD officer Saraj Din.

Mr Saraj, who had just learnt two weeks prior to the incident that his wife was pregnant with their first child, said: “We did not know what was going to happen to us but we were prepared to do whatever the situation demanded. To us, we saw it more as a duty than a sacrifice.”

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