Six in Hong Lim Park fracas face public nuisance charges

Six in Hong Lim Park fracas face public nuisance charges
Roy Ngerng (with microphone, right) and Han Hui Hui (in black, with flag) at the Return Our CPF rally at Hong Lim Park.

Six protesters, including activist Han Hui Hui and blogger Roy Ngerng, who took part in a Hong Lim Park march that disrupted a charity event last month, will be in court on Monday to face charges of public nuisance.

The police also said yesterday that Ms Han, 22, and Mr Ngerng, 34, each face a second charge of organising a demonstration without approval.

They said the investigations into the "Return Our CPF" protest at Hong Lim Park on Sept 27 covered a total of 14 people.

Of these, six have been asked to appear at the State Courts in Havelock Square on Monday.

A group of five who "participated actively at the event" have been given conditional warnings, the police said, adding that the case against them has concluded.

A conditional warning means they must not commit any offence for a specified period, usually for 12 or 24 months. Should they do so, they will be charged with new as well as the existing offences.

The police said the outcome of investigations for the remaining three individuals "will be made known to them in due course".

They said the actions were taken after careful consideration and in consultation with the Attorney-General's Chambers.

The investigations stemmed from the Sept 27 incident when Ms Han and Mr Ngerng led several hundred people in a march around Hong Lim Park, encroaching into a nearby YMCA charity carnival and scaring special needs children who were performing on stage. Ms Han had organised several "Return Our CPF" protests at the park since June.

Anyone convicted of a charge of public nuisance can be fined up to a maximum of $1,000. As for the charge of organising a demonstration without approval, the penalty is a fine of up to a maximum of $5,000.

The second offence falls under a regulation which says that no one can carry out public speaking activities, organise or participate in a performance or exhibition, or organise any demonstration without the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation's approval.

Lawyer M. Ravi, who is representing the six appearing in court, said the public nuisance charge "is a vague and uncertain provision, and might be misplaced". As for the second charge, which Ms Han and Mr Ngerng face, he said: "The Public Order Act exempts the Speakers' Corner from requiring any permit. So the Commissioner may be exceeding his jurisdiction in this matter."

Ms Han made two trips to the Police Cantonment Complex yesterday. The first was in the morning with Mr Ngerng and financial blogger Leong Sze Hian in a bid to collect her summons to appear in court. She said she was told to return in the afternoon.

After receiving the summons, she emerged with Mr Ivan Koh, who received a similar notice. Mr Ngerng received his separately.

Last night, Mr Leong posted a request on Facebook for six people to put up bail for each of those who are due to appear in court on Monday.


This article was first published on October 25, 2014.
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