July 15, 2006
NINE people linked to the Falun Gong spiritual group have been charged with illegal assembly for allegedly gathering without a permit last year, a newspaper reported Saturday, July 15.
The eight men and a woman who were charged Friday were involved in illegal assemblies on Oct. 22 and Oct 23 in the busy Orchard Road shopping area, the Straits Times reported. Eight of them are due back in court on Friday, and the court appearance of the ninth is scheduled for Aug 4.
If convicted, they face a maximum fine of S$1000 (US$630; €498).
Falun Gong is banned in China as an "evil cult."
Authorities in Singapore, which imposes tight curbs on freedom of speech and assembly, allow the group to operate but have previously arrested members on occasion.
Earlier this week, police arrested a Falun Gong member, a 40-year-old Singaporean woman, who was protesting outside the Chinese Embassy, the newspaper reported.
The group is allowed to operate in former British colony Hong Kong, a separately ruled Chinese territory that enjoys Western-style civil liberties. The group frequently holds street displays describing alleged atrocities Chinese authorities have committed against their followers.