Saturday, 2 May 2015

Amos Yee slapped: Police arrest 49-year-old man

Man, 49, held in connection with assault on teen blogger
By Melissa Lin, The Straits Times, 2 May 2015

A 49-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested in connection with an assault on teenage blogger Amos Yee outside the State Courts on Thursday.

Yee, in trouble for his allegedly offensive online postings, was slapped on the face by a man outside the courts, in an attack that was captured on video and widely shared online.

"In response to media queries, the police confirm that a 49-year-old man was arrested in relation to the case," the police said in a statement yesterday, adding that investigations are ongoing.

The police had earlier said that a report had been lodged against the man who slapped Yee, 16.

Yee had been walking on his own to the State Courts for a pre-trial conference on Thursday when a man in a red polo shirt and cargo pants sneaked up and struck him hard on the left cheek, startling passers-by.

The attacker yelled "Sue me! Come and sue me!" before fleeing. A stunned Yee held his face as he walked into the State Courts building.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam has called the assault "unacceptable".

Yee is currently in remand.

On March 31, he was charged with attacking Christianity, transmitting an obscene image and making an online video which included offensive remarks about the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

The prosecution has stood down the last charge for now.

On March 27, Yee posted the eight-minute video on YouTube and was arrested three days later. He was bailed out on April 21 by a youth counsellor, but was sent back to Changi Prison on Thursday for breaching the bail conditions.

Yee had been warned against posting anything online. But on Wednesday, he put up two vulgarity-laced posts on his blog.

At his pre-trial conference, he refused to take down the posts and the judge raised his bail from $20,000 to $30,000.

No one posted bail and he was sent back to remand.

* 3 weeks' jail for man who slapped Amos Yee
By Elena Chong, Court Correspondent, The Straits Times, 12 May 2015

A DISTRICT judge who sentenced teen blogger Amos Yee Pang Sang's attacker to three weeks' jail yesterday said a strong message must be sent that the man's brand of vigilante justice must never be allowed to take root.

Instead, Neo Gim Huah's actions must be met with a "sufficient deterrent sentence", lest they open the floodgates to future cases of aggrieved individuals taking matters into their own hands, said District Judge Ronald Gwee.

He found it particularly disturbing that the 49-year-old had sought to teach Yee a "lesson".

"The accused sought to maximise the publicity that would be generated by his intended course of action by deliberately choosing the time and place - while the victim was on his way to the State Courts to attend a pre-trial conference," he said.

Neo, a businessman, admitted forcefully slapping the 16-year- old on the face at about 2.40pm on April 30.

Neo Gim Huah, 49, told the court he slapped blogger Amos Yee in public to teach him a lesson.
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, May 10, 2015

Deputy Public Prosecutor Winston Man said Neo had "formed his own belief that the criminal justice system would have difficulties dealing effectively with the victim owing to his age".

Neo had earlier taken offence at portions of Yee's online video aimed at the late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Neo decided to confront and slap the boy, whose actions, he felt, had "portrayed Singapore in a negative light".

Mr Man said Neodid not confront Yee at his first two court appearances. He became outraged shortly before Yee's third court appearance on April 30 when he realised that Yee had flouted his bail conditions, and decided to teach him a lesson.

"The accused was fully aware that the media was present when he slapped the victim and deliberately committed the offence at that stage as he wanted the assault to be publicised, so that the world at large would know that the victim was being taught a lesson," said Mr Man.

In his mitigation letter, Neo said he was very angry with Yee for insulting and being "disrespectful to our founding father". By slapping him, he felt it could instil fear and let the "arrogant" and "disobedient" teen know the ways of the world.

He admitted he was wrong for taking the law into his own hands and offered his apologies to Yee.

Pleading for leniency, the father of three said he hoped everyone would learn from this.

Judge Gwee said: "It was highly aggravating for the accused to decide that the victim ought to be taught a lesson and that he should be the one carrying out such an action."

He said the publicising of such unlawful acts, especially through social media, could give rise to a "lowering of the confidence in the rule of law".

"A strong message must be sent to the public at large and particularly to like-minded persons as the accused that his brand of vigilante justice must never be allowed to take root," he said.

Neo could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000.

JUST IN: A 49-year-old man has been arrested over the attack on teen blogger Amos Yee on Thursday.
Posted by The Straits Times on Friday, May 1, 2015

Assault unacceptable, says Shanmugam
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 1 May 2015

LAW Minister K. Shanmugam has called yesterday's assault on Amos Yee "unacceptable", saying that taking the law into one's own hands cannot be condoned.

"If everyone starts taking the law into his or her own hands, then we will no longer be a civilised society," he wrote on his Facebook page. He hoped that the attacker who slapped the teenager would be caught quickly and dealt with.

Amos Yee was assaulted as he was going to court today. That is quite unacceptable. Amos made some statements which are...
Posted by K Shanmugam Sc on Thursday, April 30, 2015

The incident, which the police are investigating, occurred just outside the courthouse when 16-year-old Yee, dressed in his pyjamas, was making his way alone to the State Courts.

His parents had arrived separately just minutes earlier.

As Yee was smiling at the media cameras waiting for him at the steps leading to the State Courts, a man, who appeared to be in his 30s, lunged forward.

The stranger, dressed in a red polo shirt and cargo pants, slapped Yee hard on the left cheek. The sound of the blow startled passers-by. Before fleeing, the man yelled: "Sue me! Come and sue me!"

A stunned Yee could say only: "That hurt."

He gripped his face in pain as he walked into the State Courts building, his eyes red.

Yee's lawyer, Mr Alfred Dodwell, said his parents planned to file a police report.

A spokesman for the State Courts said it would "assist in any police investigation".

The police confirmed that a report had been lodged and investigations are ongoing.

The attack, which was captured on video and made its rounds online, attracted a flurry of opinions.

Some claimed that Yee had it coming, while others condemned the attacker for taking the law into his own hands. Many called him a coward for running away.

"We may disagree with the views, the approach and the stances taken by Amos Yee. But it does not give us the right to inflict violence on him," said Ms Braema Mathi, president of human rights group Maruah.

Both Amos Yee and man who slapped him entitled to defence in court: Shanmugam
By Chan Luo Er, Channel NewsAsia, 3 May 2015

Law Minister K Shanmugam said the rule of law is fundamental for any civilised society, and both the man arrested for slapping Amos Yee, as well as Amos Yee himself are entitled to their defence in court.

"People have said to me: 'Amos is young, why was he charged?' I have refrained from commenting because those matters can...
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Sunday, May 3, 2015

Speaking at the sidelines of a community event on Saturday (May 2), Mr Shanmugam said questions have also been raised as to why someone as young as Amos Yee was charged.

But he said Yee's age is a factor for the Court to consider.

"Whether one is guilty, not guilty; what are the defences available, whether the fact of background or youth - these are all factors for the courts to consider. People have said to me: 'Amos is young, why was he charged?' I have refrained from commenting because those matters can be brought up in court and we have amended the law quite substantially now, to let the Court take into account these factors," Mr Shanmugam said.

He added that it is for society to decide the age where criminal responsibility starts.

"Once you have accepted that, then there is criminal responsibility for conduct. Whether a person is or is not guilty is for the courts and what the punishment should be, is also for the courts. But we have amended the law quite substantially to allow the courts a range of options in these matters," Mr Shanmugam said.

Video of man hitting #AmosYee while he was on his way to the court for his pre-trial conference.
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Thursday, April 30, 2015

Yee back in prison after more posts and a slap
His bailor walks out on him after he refuses to abide by bail conditions
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 1 May 2015

ON A dramatic day for blogger Amos Yee, he was found to have breached his bail conditions, slapped by a stranger, dumped by his bailor and ended up back in Changi Prison.

The youth counsellor, who had bailed out Yee last week when his own parents refused to do so, washed his hands of the teenager.

"He refused to abide by the bail conditions. Why should I bail him out?" said Mr Vincent Law, 51, who had posted $20,000 bail for the 16-year-old last Tuesday, and is now at risk of losing part or all of the money.

As part of his bail, Yee had been warned not to post anything online. But on Wednesday, he put up two vulgarity-laced posts titled "The Ridiculous Terms of my Bail" and "My Abusive Father" on his blog. He also shared these posts on his Facebook page yesterday morning.

In the posts, Yee called the bail conditions "ridiculous", and insulted the prosecutor, judge and police. He also alleged that his father had grabbed his head and banged it on a concrete floor, hours before his first court appearance.

As he made his way to court yesterday, a mystery man slapped Yee, who looked shaken.

But at his pre-trial conference, he refused to take down the posts despite being repeatedly asked to do so by District Judge Kessler Soh. The judge then raised bail to $30,000.

With no one posting it, Yee was sent back to remand where he is expected to stay until his trial, which could begin as early as Thursday.

Meanwhile, the prosecution has, for now, stood down the charge that Yee made an online video which included offensive remarks about the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, which distressed viewers. It will instead proceed with charges of him attacking Christianity and transmitting an obscene image.

Yee posted his eight-minute YouTube video on March 27. He was arrested three days later, following a spate of police reports.

While on the initial $20,000 bail posted by his parents, he went online to ask for donations to fund his legal fees, and re-posted his rant against Christianity.

On April 17, Judge Soh set new bail conditions, including having him report at 9am daily to Bedok Police Division. His parents declined to put up the new bail, and Yee spent four days in remand until Mr Law came forward.

One of Yee's pro-bono lawyers, Mr Alfred Dodwell, was heard asking him not to post anything online until next Thursday.

"If you don't accept, you'll go into remand and can't post anyway," Mr Dodwell said.

He told reporters that Yee had told him that he could not abide by the rules of his bail. Yee's parents both stood silently by the side, and refused to speak to the press.

* Teen blogger convicted on 2 charges
By Amir Hussain And Olivia Ho, The Straits Times, 13 May 2015

TEENAGER Amos Yee Pang Sang was yesterday found guilty of uploading an obscene image on his blog and intending to hurt the feelings of Christians in a YouTube video.

The 16-year-old is scheduled to find out his sentence on June 2, by which time a report on whether he is suitable for probation will be ready.

After spending 18 days in remand in Changi Prison, Yee was bailed out by his parents after the court, at the request of the prosecution, set bail at $10,000.

His previous bail of $30,000 included requiring him to report daily to a police station and to abstain from posting online. These conditions were also removed.

But he has to take down the offending image he posted on March 28 and the video he uploaded on March 27 because of the conviction. As of 11pm yesterday, both were still on his site.

The teen's father, computer engineer Alphonsus Yee, told reporters the verdict was "a fair one". He said that with his wife Mary Toh, they would "try (their) best to ensure similar offences don't occur".

State Court No. 7 was packed for the verdict, as it was during the two-day trial last week.

After District Judge Jasvender Kaur found him guilty of the two charges, the prosecution asked that a third charge Yee faced in relation to comments he made about Mr Lee Kuan Yew in the video be withdrawn.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun then urged the court to consider probation for Yee, stressing that rehabilitation should be "the main sentencing consideration".

He called Yee a "misguided young man" who sought attention "without regard to the damaging effects on the community". But he added that "taking into account the age and profile of the accused, it is clear that neither... a fine nor a term of imprisonment would be suitable."

Yee's lawyer Alfred Dodwell at first asked for a fine or a maximum sentence of two weeks' jail, which would have seen Yee released immediately given the time he spent in remand. But after a private discussion with the judge, the prosecution and Yee's parents, Mr Dodwell agreed that probation would probably be best since it would leave his client without a criminal record.

Two questions, 15 pages and 16-year-old is ruled guilty
Judge reveals what she asked herself before verdict on Amos Yee
By Amir Hussain, The Straits Times, 13 May 2015

TO DECIDE whether the image that Amos Yee had posted on his blog was obscene, District Judge Jasvender Kaur had asked herself two questions.

"Would any right-thinking parents approve of their teenage (children)... (viewing) such an image?" was the first. The other was whether any teacher would approve of a student doing the same in the school library.

The answer would be an "emphatic no" to both. "It would meet with their strongest possible disapproval and condemnation," said the judge.

That was why she ruled the image that the 16-year-old posted on March 28 was obscene.

Yee had superimposed the faces of Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and former British premier Margaret Thatcher onto an outline of two people engaging in a sex act.

The judge pointed out that the defence itself had acknowledged that such an image could encourage young people towards sexual experimentation.

In her 15-page judgment, the judge also found that Yee, in the YouTube video that he uploaded on March 27, did not just make "clearly derogatory" comments about Jesus Christ that were offensive to Christians, but he did so deliberately as well.

The video was titled Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead.

The judge said: "By making an analogy between the two different subjects, the accused was pointing to the same alleged denigrating similarities between Mr Lee and his followers, and Jesus and Christians."

She highlighted that Yee admitted being "fully aware" that the comparison would be offensive to the religion and he even looked up the Sedition Act.

She rejected the defence's argument that the offence needed proof that Christians had complained about being insulted.

Besides, Yee himself admitted receiving about 20 negative comments to his video, "mostly from people practising Christianity".

The video, the judge pointed out, was "not made by someone who is learned or of special influence".

"It is by a 16-year-old teenager who plainly has a lot of growing up to do," she said. "It is unsurprising, therefore, that the negative reaction was limited to the comments that the accused received on social media."

Amos Yee says ex-bailor molested him, then admits it was all a lie to trick the media
By Olivia Ho, The Straits Times, 13 May 2015

Barely a day after he was convicted and released on bail, teenage blogger Amos Yee alleged that he had been molested by Mr Vincent Law, a family and youth counsellor who had stepped forward to bail him out.

Then a few hours later, after Mr Law told several media outlets that the allegation was "false", Yee posted again on Facebook to announce that it was all a lie. "Vincent Law didn't really molest me, haha," he wrote. "Though he is immensely creepy. I'll save the specific details for another time."

The 16-year-old admitted that the entire post was "a troll" to trick the media. "I manipulated the press to indulge in the thoroughly exhausting experience of waiting in Pasir Panjang fruitlessly for several hours, which they did with their 'diligence'. They are all quite obscure and hard places to reach in Singapore aren't they?" he wrote just before 9.45pm.

At 2.40pm on Wednesday, Yee had made a lengthy post on Facebook inviting the media to "catch" him as he exited Pasir Panjang MRT station at around 3 or 4pm.

The 16-year-old wrote that if they did, he would "clear the air" and "reveal that little tidbit of information on how (his) ex-bailor, Vincent Law, molested (him)".

When contacted, Mr Law told the Straits Times: "I deny this very serious and false allegation that he has made. I have no idea why he would say that."

Yee's lawyer Alfred Dodwell said that the post took him by surprise.

"He's never communicated this to me or my team."

He said he had not spoken with the teenager since they parted ways on Tuesday, when Yee was found guilty of uploading an obscene image and making remarks intending to hurt the feelings of Christians, after a two-day trial last week.

Yee has since taken down the offending YouTube video and post that got him convicted from his blog.

The blogger was charged in court on March 31, four days after uploading the video criticising the late Mr Lee. A day after he put up the video, he uploaded an image illustrating two people having sex, on which he superimposed the faces of Mr Lee and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Yee will be sentenced on June 2, pending the outcome of a probation report.

On Tuesday, the court reduced the bail sum to $10,000, with no conditions attached. The previous bail amount was $30,000 and as part of his bail terms, Yee was not allowed to post anything online.

Yeah I lied, again… I wasn’t really going to tender an apology to Vincent. Seriously… ‘praise Jesus’? ‘Our holy christ’...
Posted by Amos Yee on Friday, May 15, 2015

Amos Yee does an about-turn over apology
By Olivia Ho, The Sunday Times, 17 May 2015

A day after saying he was "extremely remorseful" for the false claim that his former bailor Vincent Law had molested him and that he would offer a "detailed" public apology, teenage blogger Amos Yee has again admitted to lying.

At 1.30am yesterday, he posted on his Facebook page a link to a new post on his blog, which began: "I should issue a sincere apology to Vincent Law? Hahahahaha." He also said the 51-year-old youth counsellor threatened to discharge himself nine times.

In his post, Yee also described several instances in which he said he was unreasonably treated by Mr Law. These included insisting on meeting him every day, and not allowing him to take photographs with other people.

When asked about Yee's latest about-turn, Mr Law told The Sunday Times: "I think it's best to leave Amos alone and not write about him." He added that he was not considering legal action.

In another post on his Facebook page later yesterday, Yee continued to insult Mr Law. He wrote that if his former bailor were to take legal action, he would sue for "emotional abuse of a child".

His posts attracted hundreds of comments yesterday, with many netizens criticising his behaviour. Some said he was like "the boy who cried wolf" while others said he had lost his credibility, and was simply looking for attention.

Last Friday, after Mr Law demanded an "unreserved apology" from Yee for having claimed he molested him, the teenager, writing on his Facebook page, said: "I am extremely remorseful for the turmoil that I have caused to Vincent and his family..." Mr Law had initially posted bail of $20,000 for him last month, stepping up after his parents refused to do so.

The teenager was found guilty on May 12 of uploading an obscene image and making remarks intending to hurt the feelings of Christians, after a two-day trial. That day, the court reduced the bail sum to $10,000, with no conditions attached. Bail was posted by his parents. Yee will be sentenced on June 2, pending the outcome of a probation report.

Now I also feel compelled to judge the journalistic integrity of my friends at TOC.This happened before I wrote that...
Posted by Amos Yee on Saturday, May 16, 2015

My mother, upon reading what Vincent had done to me, was absolutely horrified and disturbed, contacted Terry Xu of...
Posted by Amos Yee on Monday, May 18, 2015

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