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TRS founder jailed 8 months

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Yang Kaiheng, the key person behind The Real Singapore website, was sentenced to eight months’ jail on Tuesday (June 28).

The 27-year-old Singaporean had admitted to deliberately sowing discord between Singaporeans and foreigners through a series of articles on the socio-political website that he had started with his Australian-Japanese wife and a friend.

He pleaded guilty to six counts of sedition last Friday (June 24), after seven days of trial.

Two more charges — one of sedition and another of failing to produce financial documents on the site’s advertising revenue to the police — were taken into consideration during the sentencing.

Facts of the case presented by the prosecution last week showed that Yang had controlled the bulk of about A$550,000 (S$550,000) in advertising revenue the website made from December 2012 to April last year.

He also had a hand in almost every aspect of the website’s operations, from spearheading the development of mobile applications to deciding which advertising platforms to work with. He also thought of new ways for the website to generate more revenue.

Yang also had full access to TRS, and could add, edit or remove articles from it.

The bulk of the site’s earnings went to paying for an apartment he bought jointly with his wife, Ai Takagi, as well as his tuition fees at the University of Queensland in Australia.

Takagi, 23, had earlier pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 months in jail. She started serving her jail term in April.

Yang, however, had denied his involvement in the daily management of the site, and had claimed trial.

The second part of his trial was due to begin last Wednesday. But in an about-turn, he decided to plead guilty.

The maximum punishment under the Sedition Act is a $5,000 fine and three years’ jail for each charge.

The Real SingaporeUncategorisedYang Kaiheng