7 Oct 2005

Two bloggers jailed for making racist remarks online


By Rita Zahara, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : For the first time, two Singaporeans have been sentenced to jail for posting racist remarks online.

28-year-old Benjamin Koh Seng Huat, a kennel keeper at an animal shelter, has been sentenced to one month's jail.

Separately, the court sentenced 25-year-old former assistant marketing manager, Nicholas Lim Yew, to serve one day in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Koh walked into the court, accompanied by his lawyer and a friend Hisham Abu Bakar.

He pleaded guilty to making racist remarks on his web blog which sparked off more than 200 comments.

Lim, whose postings were regarded less serious than Koh's by the court, was also charged under the Sedition Act.

In passing sentences, Senior District Judge Richard Magnus said the two had crossed the red line by wantonly breaching the basic ground rules.

He said passing a deterrent sentence was necessary so that such offending acts are tackled early and contained.

The judge also said that young Singaporeans may have short memories that race and religion are sensitive issues.

He said callous and reckless remarks on racial or religious subjects had the potential to cause social disorder, regardless of which medium or forum they are expressed.

The judge added the right of one to propagate an opinion on the Internet is not and cannot be an unfettered right.

It is only appropriate social behaviour of every Singapore citizen and resident to respect the other races in view of Singapore's multi-racial society.

Lim's lawyer said there was a lesson to be learnt from the judgement.

Helen Chia, Lim's Lawyer, said: "He is sending out a signal to the public that this is a serious matter and everybody should take a second look at themselves."

Separately, a third blogger, 17-year-old Gan Huai Shi faces seven charges of posting racist remarks on his blog.

His case will be heard again on October 26.



2 Singaporeans jailed for posting racist remarks online

SINGAPORE, Oct. 7 (Xinhuanet) --
Two young Singaporeans were sentenced to jail Friday for making racist remarks online.

According to Channel News Asia reports on Friday night, Benjamin Koh Seng Huat, 28, was sentenced to one month's jail while 25-year-old Nicholas Lim Yew, former assistant marketing manager, was sentenced to one-day's jail and a maximum fine of 5,000 Singapore dollars (about 2976 US dollars).

Koh, a kennel keeper at an animal shelter, pleaded guilty to making racist remarks on his web blog which sparked off more than 200 comments.

Lim, whose postings were regarded less serious than Koh's by the court, was also charged under the Sedition Act.

Announcing the verdicts, Senior District Judge Richard Magnus said that the right of one to propagate an opinion on the Internet is not and cannot be an unfettered right.

Passing a deterrent sentence was necessary so that such offending acts are tackled early and contained, he added.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Gan Huai Shi, the third bloggers, also faces seven charges of posting racist remarks on his blog, and his case will be heard again on October 26.


Related Links:
Reuters

6 comments:

lee hsien tau said...

I don't see why comments about Muslims is any different from comments about Christians or any other race or religion? One asks for forgiveness on Sunday and the other on Friday. On the other days they are allowed to commit all kinds of sins, for which they ask for forgiveness the following whatever. That anyway is advantage hinted to me by my brother, who once a teacher at Hong Kah secondary.
If you look at Malay websites, you read similar comments by them about politics and race. This seems to a specific example made of these three bloggers. There must be worse sites out there, some without giving names or allowing comments. Need they be jailed or even persecuted. Is this an attempt to garner votes?

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