Jail for man for inciting violence on Facebook, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Jail for man for inciting violence on Facebook

A 46-year-old Singaporean man who was unhappy with the Government saw a news report on Facebook that former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe had been shot, and commented “Pls someone do the same to our PM”.

On March 20, Kong Chee Kian, who was referring to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his comment, was sentenced to four months’ jail. He pleaded guilty to one charge of inciting violence electronically.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Delicia Tan said investigations revealed that Kong posted the comment on July 8, 2022, as “he did not like the Government and PM Lee is the head of the Government”.

She said Kong had difficulty finding permanent employment due to health issues and “was looking for someone to blame for (his) problems” and “chose to blame the Government”. Details of his health issues were not mentioned in court documents.

DPP Tan said that Kong was browsing Facebook using an account with the profile name “Carl Brown” when he saw a CNA article which reported that Mr Abe had been shot.

Commenting on it, he asked for someone to do the same to “our PM”.

An anonymous police report was made alerting the authorities to what Kong said on Facebook. Kong was arrested that same day.

Also on the same day, Kong commented on an article on Facebook by Yahoo Singapore stating that Mr Abe had died, saying: “Your good friend LHL will join you.”

Kong was referring to PM Lee when he wrote the initials LHL, said DPP Tan.

Investigations also showed that, a month prior, Kong had responded to a post on Instagram that asked users to provide deliberately wrong answers for what they thought a product depicted was in a picture of a Tamagotchi toy, a keychain-sized, virtual pet simulation game.

Kong replied saying the Tamagotchi was “the only weapon against Singapore PM”.

Seeking 4½ to six months’ jail for Kong, DPP Tan said: “A zero-tolerance approach ought to be taken against any individual who, dissatisfied with the Government for any reason, resorts to inciting violence against the head or senior members of the Government.”

She added that a failure to nip such offensive behaviour in the bud could lead to the undesirable proliferation and normalisation of such offences.

Defence lawyer Rajoo Ravindran asked the court to consider two months’ jail for his client instead, noting that Kong is a first-time offender and had fully cooperated with the police during investigations.

The lawyer said Kong is remorseful for his conduct and has taken responsibility for his actions.

He added that his client’s family, including his father who is in his 80s, will support him after his incarceration to ensure that he “remains on the right side of the law”.

In meting out the sentence, District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam said weaponising social media platforms to incite violence must be dealt with firmly.

“He made a specific threat to assassinate and not just to beat up. All of this makes it that much more serious and ominous,” said the judge.

COURT & CRIMEcrimeLee Hsien Loong