Singapore—One of the four men arrested last week in connection with the reported Telegram chat group SG Nasi Lemak that distributed obscene material to its 44,000 members faced a new charge in court on Tuesday, October 22.
Twenty-six-year-old Leonard Teo Min Xuan, who is believed to be the administrator of the chat group, was slapped with an additional charge of possessing obscene objects in the form of pornographic material found in his electronic devices by the authorities on October 14, the day of his arrest, at his home in Pasir Ris.
The chat group is believed to have shared nude and revealing photos and videos of girls and women in Singapore, including upskirt pictures.
The accused’s lawyer, Ashwin Ganapathy, asked a question concerning Mr Teo’s time in remand, saying that the maximum jail term for the fresh charge is only three months. His client has already been remanded for one week.
But District Judge Adam Nakhoda answered this by saying that the past week of remand was for the purpose of psychiatric observation. The judge added that the Institute of Mental Health won’t be able to accomplish its investigation, as he ordered an additional fortnight for psychiatric observation.
He also denied the request from the lawyer for Mr Teo to speak to his brother.
Mr Teo is scheduled back in court on November 5.
Police announced on October 15 that four men were arrested due to their suspected involvement in the circulation of obscene material via the chat group on Telegram.
The youngest of the individuals arrested is only 17 years old. Another one of the men arrested is also a teenager, age 19.
As early as March this year, the police had already begun to receive reports against SG Nasi Lemak for allegedly sharing pornographic material through Telegram.
Police officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division determined the identities of the men arrested via investigations they carried out over the past few months. These men were arrested on October 14, Monday, in different parts of the country, and appeared in court via video link the following day, where the charges were brought against them.
Charged in court were 17-year-old Abdillah Sabaruddin; 19-year-old Justin Lee Han Shi; 37-year-old Liong Tianwei, 37, and Mr Teo.
The investigations of the police have shown that Mr Teo and Liong Tianwei are the administrators of the Telegram group, while the two teenage men are distributors of the obscene material. Police officers have seized over 10 electronic devices, including a central processing unit, a laptop, a hard disk, and several mobile phones, as case exhibits.
The four men were charged with conspiracy to commit distribution of obscene materials, under Section 292(a) read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.
They have each been charged with one count of transmitting obscene materials by electronic means. Messrs Lee, Teo, and Liong have been accused of committing the offence between January and October 2019. And on October 5, Mr Abdillah was said to have shared an explicit picture of two naked women.
If they are found guilty, the men may receive a jail sentence of up to three months, be fined, or both.
By Friday, October 18, the two teenage men were handed an additional charge in court. Messrs Abdillah and Lee were given an additional charge of having obscene materials on their electronic devices such as mobile phones, although documents from the court did not disclose what these materials were.
They were accused of committing the offenses earlier in October. / TISG