No charges against MP Louis Ng for placard without permit to support hawkers
Following police investigations, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng will not face criminal charges for failing to apply for a permit before he visited hawkers while holding up a placard in June 2020.
It was earlier reported that Mr Ng was being investigated for holding up a piece of paper that read "Support Them" with a smiley face printed on it.
A spokesman for the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) told The Straits Times on Wednesday (Oct 5) that AGC directed the police to take no further action against Mr Ng under the Public Order Act.
"Investigations have revealed that Mr Ng was exercising his duty as a Member of Parliament, in expressing care and support for the welfare of the hawkers in his constituency during the Covid-19 pandemic," said the spokesman.
The spokesman added that the nature of the act and the intent of the person performing the act are key considerations in deciding whether an offence has been committed or whether there is any public interest in prosecuting the offence.
Mr Ng posted about his trip to Yishun Park Hawker Centre on Facebook on June 20, 2020, encouraging residents to visit the hawkers weeks after the circuit breaker period had ended. In pictures that accompanied the post, Mr Ng could be seen holding up the sign.
He wrote: "(Hawkers) worked hard during the past few months to try to make ends meet and to provide yummy food for us. More than ever, our hawker heroes need our support."
Under the Public Order Act, an assembly is defined as a gathering or meeting with the purpose of demonstrating support for, or opposing the views or actions of, any person, group or government.
It also applies to publicising a cause or campaign, marking or commemorating any event, and includes a demonstration by a single person.
Mr Ng was investigated after activist Jolovan Wham was charged with holding up a piece of cardboard with a smiley face drawn on it in Toa Payoh in March 2020.
Wham, who in September 2022 served 15 days behind bars instead of paying a $3,000 fine for a separate assembly, was earlier given a discharge amounting to acquittal for the charge involving the smiley face. This means he cannot be charged again with the same offence.
The Straits Times has contacted Mr Ng for comment.