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Carissa Cheow: The Real Target of Singapore's Internal Security Department and China's Ministry of State Security

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We previously reported on Singapore's Internal Security Department (ISD)'s Operation Qadar, an operation to counter the threat of Vickreman Harvey Chettiar exposing Operation Providence after its failure:

[Operation] Qadar was necessitated by Harvey’s own actions of being rigid and stubborn about wanting to expose her rapist over a period of years, instead of letting the matter go like any sane and reasonable person, and getting the Justice4Harvey blogsite published to draw unnecessary attention to just taking the non-custodial plea deal she was offered. This kind of action which is publicity-seeking of course raised the spectre that she may expose [Operation] Providence.

We further understand that while allocation of manpower for Operation Qadar started in November 2021, planning and conceptualisation for the operation had started in 2019, in relation to Carissa Cheow, before pivoting to targeting Harvey.

Similarly, we understand that the targeting of Harvey by China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) is, in fact, secondary to their interest in neutralising Carissa. We also understand that MSS has agents in ISD, through whom MSS can gather information and execute its own measures.

ISD's targeting of Carissa Cheow

We understand that Carissa was in fact a fixer candidate for Operation Providence. Carissa is closer in age to Kenneth Jeyaretnam's son, and was deemed to have mental health issues and traumas that would have driven her to avoid the physical and sexual torture that would have been used to coerce her into doing the job. Ultimately, ISD preferred to keep Carissa as a future hire rather than a fixer, and chose Harvey, who was deemed ineligibile to become a hire due to her extended social isolation and lack of formal education, to use for Operation Providence instead. ISD's Providence Team had thus been monitoring Carissa and Harvey since late 2012 to ensure that neither of them became a threat.

Operation Qadar was conceptualised by the Providence Team in 2019 when Carissa co-founded Students for a Safer NUS (SafeNUS), currently known as Safe Space. SafeNUS was founded in the wake of outrage among students and the public around poor handling of sexual misconduct cases by the National University of Singapore (NUS). SafeNUS was seen to have been an effective organisation, outdoing the "powerless" NUS Students' Union, and ISD sought to counter the threat of Carissa's ventures.

Hoping to cause Carissa to drop out of university, ISD worked through the NUS administration to block off the few financial aid schemes she might have been eligible for, and also had the administration overstate the quantum of her final year school fees as $44,160, up from what should have been about $20,000.

In 2020, Carissa ran in NUS's Graduate Students' Society (GSS) election. Her campaign attracted much more attention onto the GSS election than usual, such that the election could not be rigged, as it usually is in case of a credible challenger arising, without raising questions. She was successfully elected Vice-President (External) of the 35th Graduate Students' Society.

More recently, Carissa's stream of public letters are deemed by ISD to be able to deal damage, not by reaching their intended recipients but by their publication and increasing circulation among different demographics. The first letter, addressed to the Attorney-General's Chambers, was deemed to have been of interest mostly to the "anti-Government SJW crowd" and civil society. Its circulation is estimated to be a couple of hundred people. The second letter, addressed to the President of Singapore, is full of legalese and was deemed to have been of interest to law students and undergraduates in related disciplines, who perused the letter out of educational and occupational interest. Its circulation is estimated at about a hundred people. The third letter, dubbed the "100-Page Letter" and addressed to the President and the Attorney-General's Chambers, was deemed to have gained much interest among the working-class, though not among academic and white-collar demographics. It was assessed to have been spread by word-of-mouth and passed hand-to-hand among coffeeshops and other working-class mingling spaces. The letter is deemed to have generated significant concern among the "bottom 30% of socioeconomic strata" of Singapore society, though most within this demographic are not believed to have seen it due to its limited spread. It is thought to have reached thousands, and continued spreading in bits and pieces.

The letters are not deemed to be damaging yet, but they can spread over the years, and Carissa might write and publish more letters, any of which may go viral and cause political damage. This has contributed to ISD's assessment that Carissa is "much more immediately dangerous" than Harvey, who is assessed to have been "neutralised for the most part" through Operation Poison Ivy.

Attempts at control and elimination of Carissa via immigration status

Carissa was born in Singapore as a Malaysian citizen and Singapore Permanent Resident (PR), and grew up in Singapore her whole life. She has applied twice for Singapore citizenship in 2016 and 2018, and was rejected both times after a 13-month wait each. Since 2020, her applications for a Re-Entry Permit (REP), of which there have been two in 2020 and 2021 respectively, have been rejected.

As a further attempt to eliminate Carissa, ISD, through Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asked Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia (Immigration Department of Malaysia) to lose Carissa's records, such that she would have been told to apply for renewal of her Malaysian passport at the Malaysian Immigration in Johor Bahru. She would thus have had to make the trip without a REP, which would presumably be denied if she applied for one, and lose her PR status in Singapore. If she stayed in Singapore and let her passport expire, she would have been deported for that instead, and taken in for questioning by the Coordination of Shariah Enforcement and Prosecution Division within the Policy Sector of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, also known as JAKIM.

MSS's interest in Carissa Cheow

Carissa became a concern to MSS in 2021 during the #NoMoreTopDown campaign. The campaign was focused on NUS, and linked the merger of Yale-NUS College (YNC) with the University Scholars Programme (USP), widely received as a de facto closure of YNC, to the mergers of the Faculty of Engineering (FoE) with the School of Design and Environment (SDE) to form the College of Design and Engineering (CDE), and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) with the Faculty of Science (FoS) to form the College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS). The mergers were framed as indicative of a university administration which concentrates power and makes top-down decisions. Carissa was believed to have been involved with coordinating #NoMoreTopDown behind the scenes. She was thus assessed to have the potential to rouse hundreds of thousands, or even a million people against an issue by framing it as affecting everyone.

If [Carissa is] not nipped in the bud, [she] might potentially rouse the citizens of Singapore against the Chinese trying to take over when the time comes, and be successful.

ISD and MSS's secondary targeting of Harvey

As previously reported, Harvey, born in 1990, dropped out of primary school and was kept at home starting in 2001, and only regained a physical social existence in 2017. This period of isolation would have stunted her social and emotional development. Yet, in 1.5 years, she had achieved a "Coca-Cola Mentos trajectory" of exponential social circle growth, and was seen to be an extremely capable structurer in Mensa Singapore. Carissa was similarly assessed to have had a "Coca-Cola Mentos trajectory" of social graph expansion after junior college. Thus, when Harvey and Carissa met at an Inter-University LGBT Network event in June 2019, besides the issue of the Providence fixer-select meeting a Providence candidate, ISD became greatly concerned that Harvey might join SafeNUS and apply her skills there, though this never came to pass. This served as additional motivation for Operation Qadar, of which one of the objectives would be to engineer a hard split between Harvey and Carissa if/when they became too close.

In 2021, the HelpCariSleep fundraiser was started to raise funds for Carissa's final year school fees. ISD assessed Harvey to have been a significant factor in the success of the fundraiser by soliciting donations both from her direct contacts in BDSM circles and by spreading the fundraiser to multiple Mensa chapters in the region. The Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force estimates Harvey to have raised $12,000 from her BDSM circles and $18,000 from Mensa. ISD thus assessed Harvey to be a threat by way of boosting Carissa, and pivoted Operation Qadar to target Harvey instead.

The HelpCariSleep fundraiser was also when Harvey first came onto MSS's radar in 2021. Later on, MSS, likely through their agents in ISD, had Singapore's Ministry of Education inform the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to revoke Carissa's PR status in Singapore, which would result in deportation to Malaysia, on the grounds that she had interfered in Singapore's domestic politics through her alleged involvement in #NoMoreTopDown. In September 2021, Carissa's PR revocation was blocked, which MSS believed was done by Harvey through her networks.

MSS's perception was that Harvey, with her contacts, might presumably be able and likely to block further attempts to revoke Carissa's PR status. MSS has thus sought to neutralise or eliminate Harvey ever since. This includes asking Wah Kee to help Anak 357 and Attorney-General Lucien Wong with fixing up Harvey, which is detailed in Lune's follow-up Corruption Complaint against nine individuals, including Roger Seah and Jonathan Au Yong of Wah Kee, and Lucien Wong.

We previously reported that ISD had been "just letting" the Christian far-right's operations happen. We now further understand that since 2021, ISD had in fact been prodding the Christian far-right in certain directions to get them to carry out their operations against Harvey and Hydra-22, including Operation Poison Ivy in particular. As MSS and ISD have a common interest in eliminating Harvey and Carissa, and the former has agents in the latter, MSS may also have been involved in influencing the Christian far-right, Mercury Jamie Alice, and/or ISD's operations.