Outdated MFA advisory falsely linked to letters warning of attacks on Batam

Outdated MFA advisory falsely linked to letters warning of attacks on Batam

Messages circulating on WhatsApp have linked an old advisory on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to an Indonesian report saying flyers have emerged warning of bomb attacks in the Riau Islands. The advisory has since been removed.

SINGAPORE: Messages circulating on WhatsApp and social media highlighting an Indonesian report that "flyers were found" warning of "bomb attacks in a number of places in the Riau Islands" have been falsely linked to an outdated advisory on the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) website.

The messages cite a Batam Today report dated Jul 5 that letters or flyers have surfaced warning of terror attacks targeting travellers from Johor and Singapore.

WhatsApp message on Batam

Screengrab of the message circulating on WhatsApp

The letter claims that attacks will occur at the harbours at Batam Centre and Nagoya, as well as Bintan Telani, Tanjong Pinang and other locations, and that "militants have been on Riau Island for the last two weeks". An image of the purported letter circulating on social media shows it is dated Jul 4.

As of Thursday (Jul 7), several people reported receiving the WhatsApp message linking a notice on MFA's website by the Singapore Consulate in Batam to the report by Batam Today.

Channel NewsAsia understands that the advisory was posted some time ago and is unrelated to the report on the flyers. A check of the MFA website on Thursday afternoon shows the advisory has since been taken down.

MFA last issued a travel advisory on Jul 4, urging Singaporeans heading abroad to keep safe and stay vigilant, especially in light of recent terrorist attacks targeting civilians in Istanbul, Dhaka and Baghdad.

Source: CNA/nc