2 arrested for sedition: Remarks could promote ill will

2 arrested for sedition: Remarks could promote ill will
Mr Robin Yang (L) and Ms Ai Takagi (R), believed to be behind sociopolitical website The Real Singapore.

It claimed that a family from the Philippines had sparked the exchange and subsequent arrest of three men during the recent Thaipusam incident.

But that Feb 4 article posted on sociopolitical website The Real Singapore (TRS) has now landed two people in serious trouble.

The Japanese-Australian administrator of the site, Miss Ai Takagi, and her Singaporean boyfriend, Mr Robin Yang Kai Heng, who handles the financials, have been arrested for posting remarks online that could promote ill will and hostility among the different races in Singapore.

They are on bail.

The third person linked to TRS, a Malaysian who calls herself Melanie Tan, has not been arrested and is believed to be in Australia.

The site had allegedly embellished the article to fan xenophobia. The New Paper understands police are investigating an act of sedition.

The site has been accused in the past and in the February article of fanning hatred of foreigners.

The TRS post had carried the lines: "I think what started the incident was a complaint by a Pinoy family with a young child who is crying which caused the parents to tell the police to make the people stop playing the urumi as it is causing the child to cry.

"Shortly afterward, the SPF (Singapore Police Force) and auxiliary police force descended upon the drummer."

The Feb 3 incident allegedly did involve the playing of an urumi, an Indian drum.

But no Philippine family was involved.

The original writer of the article distanced herself from the TRS version of her letter and even took to posting on her Facebook page denying she had mentioned a "Pinoy" family.

Officers from the Special Investigation Section at the Criminal Investigation Department then hunted down the people behind the website.

Enough people knew of the brains behind TRS. Online sites had even offered the trio's mobile numbers and pictures.

They had made many enemies in cyberspace who accused them in the past of plagiarising their articles.

But the three university students had also bragged to their families about the income they had been generating from the online venture.

ARREST

While Mr Yang, 26, and Miss Takagi, 22, were in Singapore in the last two weeks, police arrested them.

Residents at Block 352A, Canberra Road, witnessed the couple being led by police to their flat at the same block.

A resident said it happened soon after the Feb 4 posting.

The police were seen taking a number of items, including computers.

Although the site is hosted overseas, police here have jurisdiction because the article was posted here while the two were in Singapore.

Miss Takagi is a law student. Mr Yang is also a student at her university.

Yesterday, the couple were again summoned to the Police Cantonment Complex.

After a long wait, TNP spotted Mr Yang and Miss Takagi leaving the building together at around 6pm.

The accused were accompanied by two older men, one believed to be Mr Yang's father.

When TNP approached the younger man to ask about his role in the TRS site, he said: "Who told you I was involved in TRS?"

Miss Takagi declined comment when asked why a foreigner would fan xenophobia.

The Feb 3 incident during Thaipusam resulted in three Singaporean men being charged with various offences, including disorderly conduct and voluntarily causing hurt to a police officer.

Until now, aggrieved parties have not been able to take civil action against TRS because of the cloak of anonymity.

But all that may change with the police investigation, said criminal lawyer Rajan Supramaniam.

"If the people behind TRS are charged and convicted in court following the investigation, aggrieved parties can use that as a basis to take civil action against TRS if they have enough evidence," he said.

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