Teen in online rant remanded

Teen in online rant remanded

AMOS Yee, the 16-year-old in trouble for an online rant against Christianity, spent the night in remand after his parents decided not to post his $20,000 bail yesterday.

On March 31, the day he was charged, he agreed as a condition of his bail not to post anything online until his case is decided.

But on Tuesday, Amos asked for donations to fund legal fees on his blog and Facebook page. The blog post included links to the offensive videos and posts that landed him in trouble in the first place.

During a pre-trial conference yesterday, District Judge Kessler Soh imposed new bail conditions, which include him taking down his latest posts. The judge also ordered that his parents be the only ones allowed to stand surety for him because of his age, and converted the police bail to court bail.

The last was an administrative change, but required bail to be posted again. However, his parents refused to do this. Amos, who arrived at court waving to reporters and eating a banana, was led away in handcuffs.

The prosecution later asked the judge to allow others to bail Amos out. The judge agreed. Unless the teenager is bailed out today, he is expected to spend the weekend in remand.

Amos was charged with attacking Christianity, transmitting an obscene image and posting an online video that insulted founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew four days after his death.

More than 20 police reports had been lodged against him.

On Tuesday, in a blog post titled "Donate To Help Amos Yee", he claimed he had just $70 left in his bank account and said he hoped to raise $30,000 for legal fees. He added that his parents were unwilling to pay the fees.

Yesterday, Judge Soh told Amos that, as part of his bail, he had to make private his YouTube video on Mr Lee and his blog post with obscene figures. While his case is ongoing, he must also refrain from posting, uploading or distributing any comment or content, whether directly or indirectly, to any social media, online service or website. The teen, who has yet to engage a lawyer, must also report daily at 9am to Bedok Police Division.

Blogger Roy Ngerng, who was found to have defamed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his May 15 blog post last year, was among the few who were in court for Amos' pre-trial conference yesterday. Amos' bail review has been scheduled for April 21, and his next pre-trial conference is set for May 13.

elena@sph.com.sg


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