Singapore Grand Prix venue target of terrorist attack


Indonesian police found only a stash of bomb-making materials after arresting six men suspected of planning a rocket attack on the venue of the Singapore Grand Prix.

But police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said a search was on for more members of a gang now believed to be part of a wider network taking instructions from a Syria-based Islamic State militant to launch attacks across Southeast Asia.

Singapore called for heightened vigilance a day after the suspected militants were rounded up. It said their plot to target Marina Bay, a glittering downtown waterfront, showed the city-state needed to defend its multiple points of entry.

The six suspected militants were detained on Friday in dawn raids on Batam island, about 15 km (10 miles) south of Singapore, where police believe the men planned to fire the rockets from.

“There were no sophisticated arms confiscated, only bomb-making materials,” Amar told Reuters. Asked whether the initial investigation indicated other groups were planning similar attacks, he said “Yes, there still are”.

Singapore’s home affairs minister, K. Shanmugam, said the men had plans to hit Marina Bay, a popular entertainment area with a waterfront promenade, a giant ferris wheel and a swanky casino resort. The Singapore Formula One Grand Prix is held annually on the streets of the Marina Bay neighbourhood.

“This shows how our enemies are thinking of different ways of attacking us,” Shanmugam said in a Facebook posting.

“Terrorists … will seek to come in through our checkpoints; they will also try to launch attacks from just outside. And this is in addition to lone wolf attacks from radicalised individuals/groups. We have to be extra vigilant.”

Batam is linked to Singapore by frequent ferries and its beach resorts and golf courses are a popular weekend getaway destination for Singaporeans, who will celebrate their National Day holiday on Tuesday.