Man fined $5,000 for false 'riot deaths' post on Facebook

Man fined $5,000 for false 'riot deaths' post on Facebook

SINGAPORE - A technician who made a "reckless" Facebook post, falsely claiming that five full-time national servicemen had been killed in the Little India riot, was fined $5,000 yesterday.

The day after the riot on Dec 8 last year, Desmond Lum Mun Hui, 28, wrote: "Yesterday riot cause 3 spf and 2 cd dead.. all nsf.. haiz.. sg.."

The terms "spf" and "cd" referred to the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force respectively.

He admitted transmitting the false message from his home in Jurong West.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Jason Nim said Lum had been reading about the preceding night's events and noted the large number of posts about it when he decided to fabricate and submit one of his own.

The DPP said: "When the said post attracted comments expressing disbelief, the accused proceeded to substantiate his initial post by stating the following: 'Yup..not publish news' and 'My fren on duty that night'."

Someone who read the message made a police report the next day.

DPP Nim said Lum had wanted to express regret at the "deaths". He added: "The offending conduct in this case consists of a transmission of a fabricated message out of a misguided and immature desire to attract attention on a social media platform.

"The offender was at most reckless as to the potential mischievous consequences," he said, adding that the post would have alarmed people who saw it.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said the fine imposed could not simply be a "slap on the wrist".

Under the Telecommunications Act, Lum could have been fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to three years, or both.

elena@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 27, 2014.
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