Overview: Singapore identified counterterrorism as a top policy priority and has developed a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy based on global and regional trends. This strategy includes vigilant security measures, regional and international law enforcement cooperation, counter-radicalization efforts, and efforts to prepare the populace for eventual attacks. As such, Singapore was a committed, active, and effective counterterrorism partner in 2016.

Counterterrorism remains a pillar of the non-defense security relationship between Singaporean and U.S. law enforcement and security services, and 2016 was marked by unprecedented levels of cooperation on counterterrorism efforts and expanded information sharing. Singapore's domestic counterterrorism apparatus and its ability to detect, deter, and disrupt threats remained effective, as shown by the successful detention of several Bangladeshi foreign workers associated with terrorist activities and Singapore's first-ever convictions for terrorist financing. Singapore has been a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS since 2014 and, in 2016, expanded its support beyond military assets to also include medical teams in Iraq.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Singapore uses its Internal Security Act (ISA) to arrest and detain suspected terrorists. The ISA authorizes the Minister for Home Affairs (MHA), with the consent of the president, to order arrest and detention without warrant if it is determined that a person poses a threat to national security. The initial detention may be for up to two years, and the MHA may renew the detention for an unlimited period (in increments of up to two years at a time), with the president's consent. ISA cases are subject to review by the courts to ensure strict compliance with procedural requirements under the act.

Singapore's existing legal framework, in conjunction with the ISA, provides the government the necessary tools to support the investigation and prosecution of terrorism offenses. Law enforcement agencies displayed coordination, command, and control in responding to threat information affecting Singapore's security.

The Government of Singapore has a "not if, but when" stance regarding the likelihood of terrorist attacks within the city-state. In 2016, authorities launched the "SGSecure" public awareness campaign to improve emergency preparedness, promote security awareness, and build national resiliency. In October, Singapore police led the country's largest-ever counterterrorism exercise. This 18-hour multi-agency exercise simulated attacks on civilian targets and, for the first time, incorporated the Singapore Armed Forces.

In January, Singapore police deported 27 Bangladeshi foreign workers suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in Bangladesh. In June and August, authorities sentenced six Bangladeshi foreign workers on terrorist financing charges, the first such convictions. Singapore also cooperated with Indonesian authorities in the investigation of plans by terrorist groups to launch rocket attacks into Singapore from Batam, Indonesia.

In 2014, Singapore improved its border security regime through the creation of a new Integrated Checkpoints Command (ICC) as a pilot program. The ICC complements the Joint Operations Command established in 1998 and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, which in 2003 merged the Singapore Immigration and Registration Department with the checkpoint functions of the Customs and Excise Department. The creation of the ICC aimed to strengthen interagency coordination; improve air, land, and sea domain awareness; and improve border security command and control to collectively counter traditional and unconventional threats. The ICC is now out of the pilot phase and is a permanent feature of Singapore's border command structure.

To better detect possible terrorist movements via air into or transiting through Singapore, ICA is piloting the use of advanced passenger screening via the Advanced Passenger Information system and the Passenger Name Record system.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Singapore is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a FATF-style regional body. Singapore's Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. In September, the FATF and APG published their joint Mutual Evaluation Report of Singapore. The report noted that Singapore has a strong legislative and financial regulatory framework to counter terrorist financing. As an international financial center, the government of Singapore should continue to enhance its understanding of terrorist financing risks. The report also recommended increased coordination between the Internal Security Department and Commercial Affairs Department to ensure that potential terrorist financing activities are comprehensively investigated. While the FATF/APG report noted that Singapore had no terrorist finance criminal prosecutions at the time of the onsite visit, Singapore has since convicted six Bangladeshi individuals for terrorist financing. The report found that Singapore has an effective regime for implementing targeted financial sanctions against terrorists and froze approximately US $2 million in terrorism-related assets between 2008 and 2014, which is in line with its terrorist finance risk profile. The report recommended that Singapore improve supervision of its non-profit organization (NPO) sector, such as conducting a comprehensive sector review to better understand the types of organizations within the sector that are vulnerable to abuse, implement a risk-based approach to supervision, and continue outreach to NPOs to raise awareness of specific abuse risks.

Singapore strengthened counterterrorism investigative finance and asset recovery regime and procedures in 2016. The Attorney General's Chambers developed and published a step-by-step guide for states requesting assistance from Singapore in recovering illicit proceeds and assets.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Countering Violent Extremism: Through entities such as the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) and the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), Singapore serves as a regional countering violent extremism (CVE) hub. The ICPVTR conducts research, training, and outreach programs aimed at understanding the causes of radicalization and formulating practical rehabilitation programs. The government also encourages inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue through Interracial and Religious Confidence Circles, local community forums that bring leaders from Singapore's religious and ethnic communities together to discuss issues of concern and build trust.

The government believes in building regional CVE capacity, and it has highlighted opportunities for constructive engagement for those concerned with the conflict in Syria and Iraq, such as promoting legitimate charities working to ease suffering in conflict zones. The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, the Islamic authority in charge of Muslim affairs, maintains a Facebook presence and holds outreach and educational events to counter terrorist propaganda and recruitment efforts.

Singapore's RRG, a volunteer organization, has had success in counseling detainees held under the Internal Security Act. The comprehensive program includes religious and psychological counseling and involves the detainee's family and community. In 2016, the RRG launched a smart phone app designed to counter violent extremist voices by providing users with opportunities to ask questions and have conversations with RRG imams and counselors.

International and Regional Cooperation: Singapore is an active participant in counterterrorism cooperation efforts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. In 2016, Singapore and the United States extended the 2006 counterterrorism science and technology memorandum of understanding.


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