TRS sedition trial: Ai Takagi convicted of 4 charges of sedition

TRS sedition trial: Ai Takagi convicted of 4 charges of sedition
Former TRS editor Ai Takagi was convicted of four charges of sedition on March 8, 2016.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Ms Ai Takagi, a former editor of defunct The Real Singapore website, was convicted on four charges of sedition today (March 8).

The 23-year-old Australian pleaded guilty to publishing inflammatory articles on the site and its Facebook page.

The seditious posts were aimed at fanning anti-foreigner sentiments among Singaporeans, targeting foreigners from the Philippines, India and China, prosecutors said, according to a report on Channel News Asia.

Ms Takagi also admitted to another three counts of sedition and one charge of failing to produce financial statements on the website's advertising revenue to the police, reported The Straits Times. The judge will consider these in sentencing.

District Judge Salina Ishak adjourned sentencing submissions to March 23.

Ms Takagi and her Singaporean husband, Mr Yang Kaiheng, 27, were to face a joint trial on Monday (March 8). But before it began, she told the court she would be pleading guilty.

Her husband is denying the charges and claiming trial.

The articles posted on TRS between October 2013 and February last year are alleged to have promoted ill will and hostility between different races or classes in Singapore.

In one article, Ms Takagi used a Malay name "Farhan" to hide her identity while fostering xenophobia - an act Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan found "outrageous", reported The Straits Times.

The couple earned "enormous" sums from advertising revenue, he said.

Bank statements showed that they made between AU$20,000 (S$20,420) and more than AU$50,000 a month, he said. They earned close to $500,000 from December 2013 to April 2015.

The TRS website was closed down by its editors in May last year. The authorities suspended their licence to operate the site and ordered them to take it offline.

Related: Wife to plead guilty, husband to claim trial in sedition case

chenj@sph.com.sg

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