MAS Selamat Kastari escaped from Singapore by swimming across the Johor Strait with the help of an ‘improvised flotation device’, Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng told reporters yesterday.
The fugitive fled from Singapore to Johor ‘soon after’ his escape from the Whitley Road Detention Centre on Feb 27 last year, Mr Wong said, citing information provided by the Malaysian authorities.
He also said such flotation devices were often used by illegal immigrants attempting to enter Singapore undetected.
The devices could be as simple as plastic bags filled with air and tied together, rubber tyres, plastic tubes tied together or biscuit tins tied together, he said.
Mr Wong, as Home Affairs Minister, is also in charge of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.
He stressed that despite the capture of Mas Selamat, officers manning the checkpoints must continue to be vigilant.
‘Singapore is a small country. It has a long coastline. It is porous, and it’s easy for people and for goods to be brought in or even to leave Singapore.
‘We must not assume that just by the arrest of one person, Singapore will be safe from the terrorist threat,’ he said.
‘We must continue to be vigilant and continue to implement the security measures we have put in place.’