Singaporean Amos Yee back in US prison one month after release on parole
Amos Yee was sent back to a United States prison on Tuesday, one month after being released on parole.
He had been paroled on Oct 7, more than three years ahead of his original release date in 2026.
The Singaporean is now in the custody of the Stateville Correctional Centre – a maximum-security state prison in Illinois – according to the VineLink mobile app, which notifies victims of crimes on the current status of offenders.
The reason for his re-incarceration is unknown.
However, while out on parole, Yee, 25, had made two blog posts.
The first post on Oct 23 stated that he planned to return to Singapore.
The second, posted on Nov 5, was titled “6 Impressive Things I Want to Do”, with the goal of “(making) ‘defending pedophiles’ popular” up on the list.
He had previously been sentenced to six years’ jail at the Illinois River Correctional Centre, a medium-security state prison, for grooming a teenage girl and possessing child pornography.
Yee’s offences were committed in February 2019, when he repeatedly asked a 14-year-old girl living in Texas to send him nude photos of herself, with him returning in kind.
He also engaged in role play and sexual fantasies with her, and exchanged thousands of messages.
The Chicago Sun-Times daily newspaper reported then that the girl had mentioned her age multiple times in messages with Yee on WhatsApp, the messaging platform on which they communicated.
Yee - who was 20 at the time and living in Cook County, Chicago - instead instructed her to remove her age from her WhatsApp profile.
He was eventually arrested in October 2020.
During his sentencing, he had an additional 16 other child pornography-related charges dismissed as part of a plea deal he accepted.
He has also been listed on the sex offender registry due to his offences. This means that his name, crime and home address are made available to the public online.
In his Oct 23 blog post, Yee added that he is not allowed to live near places with children, such as kindergartens and parks.
At his sentencing in December 2021, he had been advised by Judge Carol Howard that pleading guilty to the charges meant he could be deported, denied admission to the US, or denied naturalisation as a US citizen in the future. The convictions could also affect his ability to obtain housing, employment and other licences, including a driving licence.
Yee arrived in the US after fleeing Singapore in December 2016, a day before he was supposed to report for a medical examination ahead of his enlistment into national service.
He was subsequently granted political asylum in the US in 2017 after citing persecution for his political opinions, following two separate incidents that led to him being jailed twice in Singapore.
In 2015, he was given a four-week jail sentence after being charged with engaging in hate speech against Christians in a video he had posted on YouTube, as well as publishing an obscene image of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
The following year, he was charged with engaging in hate speech again after he deliberately made comments in videos and blog posts that were derogatory of Christianity and Islam.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six weeks’ jail and a $2,000 fine.
The Straits Times has contacted the US Department of Justice for more information.