Teen charged for online rant: He smiles as dad says sorry

Teen charged for online rant: He smiles as dad says sorry
ACCUSED: Amos Yee (middle) with his parents outside the State Court. His $20,000 bail was extended yesterday.

It looked like he was smiling to himself as the three charges related to his online video and posting were read out to him yesterday.

And when he left the State Courts afterwards, Amos Yee Pang Sang, 16, was again smiling. He even waved to the media.

In contrast, his parents, who accompanied him to court, looked solemn and worried.

Outside the courtroom, his father told reporters: "I would like to take this opportunity to say 'sorry' to PM Lee (Hsien Loong)."

Two of the three charges were related to a video, which he allegedly uploaded last Friday.

The video contained offensive remarks about Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died on March 23, and Christianity.

He was accused of making the remarks against Christianity with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of Christians, for which he can jailed up to three years, fined, or both.

Yee also faces a charge under the Protection from Harassment Act (Poha) over his remarks about Mr Lee, which were intended to distress those who heard them. If found guilty, he can be fined up to $5,000.

The remarks Yee allegedly made included "Good riddance LKY, I neither hope and neither will you rest in peace".


Explaining why Yee was charged under Poha, lawyer Satwant Singh said that even if the intended target of the remarks is dead, Poha takes into account the distress caused to others such as the target's family members.

Yee is also accused of uploading and transmitting by electronic means an image of obscene figures. For this, he can be jailed up to three months, fined, or both.

The teenager, who wore a black T-shirt, beige pants and sandals, was not represented in court yesterday, but indicated that he would be engaging a lawyer.

Yee, who was arrested on Sunday after more than 20 reports were made against him, had his $20,000 bail extended after the prosecution was granted its request of an additional condition.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi had asked that Yee "will not post, upload or otherwise distribute any comment or content, whether directly or indirectly, to any social media or online service or website, while the current case against him is ongoing".

District Judge John Ng rejected Mr Hon's application for Yee to report daily to the investigation officer.

When the judge asked Yee if he understood that the only additional condition he imposed was not to post or distribute anything online, the boy replied: "Yes, Sir."

A pre-trial conference has been fixed for April 17.


This article was first published on April 1, 2015.
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