Man who doctored City Harvest headline complies with AGC’s demands; AGC may or may not take further action

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The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) confirmed in a statement yesterday that the netizen who doctored an image relating to the City Harvest Church trial has complied with its demands. It refused to comment, when asked, on whether it would take further action against the man, Facebook user Neo Aik Chau.

Neo apologised profusely earlier this week shortly after Law Minister K Shanmugam revealed in Parliament on Monday that the the Attorney-General’s Chambers is looking into the matter as a case of contempt by scandalising the courts.

The doctored image in question had to do with ruling party parliamentarian Edwin Tong, who also served as City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee’s defense lawyer. The man who created and circulated the image took a copy of Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao’s front page that was originally entitled “Outdated law ‘saved’ the accused from harsher penalties” and changed it to “PAP lawyer ‘saved’ the accused from harsher penalties”.

Neo, a delivery driver, begged for forgiveness on Facebook shortly thereafter:

“I was wrong! I am sorry! I didn’t mean it! Everything is fair and fair! It’s really wrong! I don’t think so much! I’m sorry! I swear not to post anything about this! Forgive me!”

The AGC asserted yesterday that the contentious post “made false and baseless allegations and in doing so, impugned the impartiality and integrity of the Court of Appeal and posed a risk that public confidence in the administration of justice would be undermined” and added that by publishing the Facebook post, Neo had committed contempt of court under s 3(1)(a) of the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act 2016.

It also confirmed that it has been in touch with Neo and asked him to publish an apology and agree not to republish the post “in any form or medium”, besides asking him to undertake that he will not take other actions which would amount to contempt of court.

Complying with the AGC’s demands, Neo apologised on his Facebook page yesterday and wrote: “I unreservedly apologise for scandalising the Court of Appeal by publishing the post. I have removed the post from the Facebook group, my Facebook accounts and all my other social media accounts and platforms.”

APOLOGY AND UNDERTAKING I, Neo Aik Chau, accept that at about 7.05pm on 2 February 2018, I published a post on the…

Posted by Neo Aikchau on Wednesday, 7 February 2018

While the AGC acknowledged that Neo has complied with its conditions, it declined to comment on whether any further action against him with regards to this case.
It only maintained that it “will take firm action against contempt of court, including institution of committal proceedings in appropriate instances”.