Sword-Wielding Man Was Twice Probed by ISD in 2016 & 2020 But Wasn’t Radicalised


As much as the recent incident regarding the sword-wielding man in Buangkok shocked the entire country, some of us may have found the perpetrator a little familiar in our own ways.

Yup, it’s not the first time that Fahil Yusop, who is 37 years old, has gotten into trouble with the law.

In fact, he was probed twice by the Internal Security Department (ISD) in the past.

First Probe in 2016

Back in 2016, the ISD first investigated Fadhil, who is a Singaporean, for sharing images of militant groups online.

These groups included the Palestinian Sunni-Islamic group Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.

Despite the content that he had shared online, ISD confirmed that “there was no indication that he was radicalised or intended to engage in armed violence”.

He was issued a written warning afterwards.

Second Probe

Thereafter, Fadhil was probed by the ISD once again in 2020 after being arrested by the police in January that year.

This time, he was caught for attempting to attack an imam with a knife in Sengkang.

An imam refers to a Muslim mosque leader who leads prayers.

Prior to entering Masjid Al-Mawaddah, a mosque in Sengkang, he had also used his knife to injure a jogger on the forearm, and he also chased a cyclist.

After setting foot in the main prayer hall of the mosque, he shouted “assalamualaikum”, which is Arabic for “peace be upon you”.

He then proceeded to approach the religious officer with hostility while holding a 22cm-long knife.

ISD and the police conducted joint investigations regarding this incident before stating that his actions were deemed to be unrelated to terrorism, and he was not radicalised either.

Second Probe: Overdose of Cough Pills and Jail Sentence

During investigations regarding his second probe in 2020, a psychiatrist’s report revealed that Fadhil had consumed a copious amount of dextromethorphan, which “contributed to his behaviour”.

For those of us who aren’t doctors, dextromethorphan is usually used as a medication to treat coughs.


The same report also showed that the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) had also diagnosed him with substance use disorder.

During his court hearing, he mentioned that he “regretted his actions”.

“I over-consumed my cough mixture as it was my habit to do so,” he said.

He also explained that he was the sole breadwinner for his family and that his wife was also pregnant with the couple’s fourth child at that point in time.

For the incident in 2020, he was issued a jail term of nine months and two weeks. After his sentence got backdated, he was released from jail in July 2020.


After the episode in the mosque, he was referred for religious counselling out of safety.

Current Conviction

In case you haven’t caught up with the latest news (or if you somehow haven’t seen the viral videos showing Fadhil swinging his sword around), here’s a TL;DR version of what happened.

On 14 March, Fadhil was seen wielding a long sword near Buangkok Square shopping centre.

He had damaged at least three cars outside the shopping centre and swung his sword towards other people in the vicinity as well.

ISD also added that he “had allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is the greatest”) during the incident”.

The police were alerted to the incident at approximately 1.55 pm and arrested Fadhil after he was pinned down by members of the public in the area.


The police also seized his sword during the arrest as a case exhibit.

It was later confirmed by the police that there were two people who got injured in the process: A man sustained superficial slash wounds on his left arm and was sent to the hospital while conscious. Another man ended up with abrasions on his left knee.

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As of now, investigations by the police have revealed that Fadhil had apparently taken pills of some sort before he left his home, sword in tow.

The type of pills he had taken are still unknown.

After his arrest, the police raided his home and found two packets of yellow pills, which they seized.


Both the police and ISD also highlighted that the recent incident did not look like one of terror, meaning that Fadhil had apparently acted alone without the influence of others.

For his actions near Buangkok Square shopping centre a few days ago, Fadhil will be charged in court today (16 March) for voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means.

It is unclear as to what penalties he may face as a repeat offender.

However, it’s pretty certain that it won’t be as light as his previous jail term.

“ISD will continue to work with the police to investigate (Fadhil’s) latest attack and will provide an update in due course”, ISD mentioned.

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