Anton Casey loses job, friends

Anton Casey loses job, friends

SINGAPORE - Not only has Briton Anton Casey left the country, he has also lost his wealth management job.

He, his wife, former Miss Singapore Bernice Wong, and child were reportedly spotted on a Singapore Airlines plane leaving for Perth at 12.10am on Friday.

About 24 hours later, Crossinvest Asia released a statement on its Facebook page, announcing that the firm and Mr Casey had "parted ways with immediate effect".

Early this week, Mr Casey's social media comments caused a major uproar when he posted a picture of his son with the caption: "Daddy where is your car and who are all these poor people?"

He later posted a picture of his son is in a silver Porsche with the caption: "Normal service can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me."

The Singapore public responded vocally and angrily. Even Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam lambasted the posts as "deeply offensive".

Mr Casey attempted to apologise, issuing a statement through public relations firm Fulford PR. But it backfired, with the public slamming the move as insincere.

The story has made it to the UK, Hong Kong and Australian media, whose audience also responded scathingly to Mr Casey's comments.

Crossinvest Asia's statement said that the comments went against "our core corporate and family values that are based on trust, mutual understanding and are respectful of diversity.

"Crossinvest Asia is a family business which has been built here in Singapore. The online comments made by Mr Casey do not represent the culture that we have built over many years."

The New Paper on Sunday attempted to reach the firm's managing director, Mr Christophe Audergon, for further comment, but was rejected on Saturday.

Mr Casey, 39, told The Straits Times that he was leaving because of threats made against his family. They were apparently serious threats sent to him via snail mail and social media.

"Singapore is our home, and we hope to return when we feel safe," said the permanent resident, who has lived here for 12 years.

Besides the Casey family and his employers, the fallout has also hit the lawyers he hired initially to get social media sites to take down certain posts and pictures.

When their letter of demand was published on social media, netizens called them names and wrote nasty e-mails, said Mr Louis Lim of law firm William Poh and Louis Lim.

Mr Lim tells The New Paper on Sunday that Mr Casey had been a long-standing client of the firm, but it did not necessarily mean that the firm agreed with his comments.

Reporters have been trying to contact a few of Mr Casey's friends. Some have unfriended him on Facebook, but one person, who refused to be named for fear of a backlash, says that Mr Casey was actually a nice guy.

The woman, who is not a Singaporean, says: "I think it's the British humour that most Asians can't figure out and this incident was blown out of proportion."

She got to know him through work and they have been friends for a few years. She declined to reveal her occupation for fear of being lambasted by netizens.

"I don't really want to get involved after seeing what they did to him and how people bullied those who sided with him," she says.

Mr Casey's friends, who posted on Facebook that he should have freedom of speech, had their messages re-posted, drawing flak and criticism, she adds.

Conceding that he is well-off financially, she points out that he worked hard for his wealth.

But other expatriates are not as forgiving as they fear a continued backlash against them.

One teacher says: "I haven't commented on social media, nor shared the story. I don't want to have anything to do with this, just in case I get tarred with the same brush."

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