Singapore—The 20-year-old full-time national serviceman who posted a comment online saying he wanted to throw an egg at K Shanmugam, Singapore’s Law and Home Affairs Minister, clarified that his remark was merely made in jest.
He explained that he bore no ill-will towards Mr Shanmugam, and had no plans of actually doing anything wrong or harmful.
Edmund Zhong said to the Straits Times (ST), “I posted it just as a joke, based on the news on the Australian senator.”
Mr Zhong was referring to the news of a teenager who hit an Australian senator, Fraser Anning, with an egg on his head after Mr Anning blamed Muslims for the mass shooting in Christchurch on March 15 that killed 50 people and injured 49 others.
When Channel NewsAsia reported that the 17-year-old, Will Connolly, had thrown an egg at Mr Anning, Mr Zhong left a comment on CNA’s Facebook post that read, “I wanna do that to K Shanmugam. I swear.”
As a result, a report was filed against Mr Zhong on March 19, according to the police, who said, “The Police take such threats seriously, and will carry out investigations accordingly.”
Another individual, a 47-year-old who had responded to Mr Zhong’s comment, is now also being questioned for communicating an electronic record to incite violence under Section 267C of the Penal Code.
In his comment, the man had posted information about Mr Shanmugam’s Meet-the-People session.
Section 267C states that any incitement of violence “to the law or to any lawful order of a public servant” can be punished with a fine and up to five years’ jail time.
Mr Zhong explained to ST that he was not acquainted with the older commenter and that he “just commented to draw a link to our local context, and then another guy just added fuel to the fire.”
He clarified that his only intention in making the comment was “for entertainment,” and that he did not regret making it.
The NS man said, “To be honest, I don’t feel much regret. I feel it’s a matter of freedom of speech, and that we have a right to voice such opinions.”
Mr Zhong was visited by the police in his own home because of the remark, as he said in a Facebook post on the group page Complaint Singapore.
Because he was not at home at that time, he was asked to pay a visit to an investigating officer at the Ang Mo Kio Division HQ. He wrote on the post that he “felt a mix of emotions as I didn’t expect a harmless but straightforward comment can gain so much reaction.”
Both he and the older man have cooperated with investigations, according to the police.
Netizens seem to be divided on the issue, with some people thinking that there was an overreaction from authorities, while others feel that Mr Zhong needs to take responsibility for his comments.
One netizen decided to be clever with some egg-inspired puns