Mas Selamat bin Kastari is a 47-year-old Indonesian-born Singaporean fugitive and used to work as a bus mechanic. Born on January 23, 1961 in Kendal, Central Java, he is married with five children.
Mas Selamat joined the Singapore Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) cell in 1992 and was sent to Afghanistan for training a year later. In 1998, he studied the Taleban system of government and has met Hambali (Riduan Isamuddin), the leader of JI.
Mas Selamat fled Singapore on December 2001 following the Internal Security Department (ISD) security operation against the JI where 13 suspected JI members were arrested. He plotted to crash an aeroplane from Bangkok into Changi Airport.
Mas Selamat was also jailed in Indonesia Riau province in 2003 for 18 months on immigration charges. He was however not handed over to Singapore upon his release, since Indonesia and Singapore do not yet have an extradition treaty. During this period of imprisonment, he broke his left leg in a botched attempt to escape when he jumped from a high floor.
Mas Selamat was arrested in East Java (Indonesia) on January 20, 2006 because he was using a fake identity card where he was visiting his son who was said to be studying at a religious school there. Singapore requested for Mas Selamat’s extradition and he was sent back to Singapore on the 3rd of February 2006 and was put under the Internal Security Act He was being detained at ISD’s Whitley Road Detention Centre near the old Police Academy, a high-security facility not known to many. The Onraet Road facility has armed guards, high wire fences and CCTV cameras.
At 4.05pm on February 27, 2008, the leader of the Singapore Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network escaped from the detention centre because of a lapse in security as Mas Selamat had been taken from his cell to another part of the detention centre when he asked to be allowed to visit the toilet during his family visiting hour.
The public was informed of the escape only some four hours after it happened as they need to lock down the detention centre before starting a systematic operation to search for the fugitive and arrest him. It was also that the escape posed no imminent danger to the public.
Interpol, the world largest police organisation has issued an urgent security alert on the fugitive on February 27, 2008.
Police clarified that Mas Selamat walks with a limp on his left leg, but that is only noticeable when he is running or walking quickly and not when he is strolling normally.
While the hunt for alleged Jemaah Islamiyah leader Mas Selamat Kastari continues, 40 illegal immigrants have been caught during the search efforts. The enhanced security checks have led to massive congestion in Singapore main land checkpoints.
On March 2, 2008, Singapore authorities said they strongly believe the wanted Jemaah Islamiyah leader Mas Selamat Kastari is still in Singapore. They said that it is because he escaped unaided and has no money, food or transport to leave Singapore.
Question from the Singapore Democrats :
Were there breaches of physical security?
How does one affect an escape in that short span of time?
Where are the footages of security cameras?
What are the officers’ accounts?
Is Mas Selamat still alive?
Click here for more details of Singapore Democrats’ questions.