Singapore — A man who has staged one-person protests in public in previous years is now on trial for another such protest outside the US Embassy in November last year.
Yan Jun, 45, is facing one charge of taking part in a public assembly without a permit and another charge of behaving in a disorderly manner.
The Singaporean had also faced another charge of refusing to answer a public servant but it was stood down.
On the afternoon of Nov 2 last year, Yan had staged a protest in Napier Road, outside the US Embassy.
This was not the first time he had staged a protest, as he had done so in 2016 at the Istana Park and again in Raffles Place in 2013.
As he is a repeat offender, he could be fined as much as S$5,000 for the charge of participating in public procession without a valid permit.
His trial is expected to last until Wednesday (Jan 20).
When asked in court about his position on the charges, he did not answer. Neither did he answer District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam when he was asked regarding his position on trial.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai said Yan sent an email on Nov 2 to the US Embassy announcing that he planned to protest later that day, according to straitstimes.com.
He arrived at the location just before 5 pm, bearing several signs that alleged that the US government had spied on him in Johor Baru and that Changi Prison was a slave camp.
Another sign called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to step down.
Yan stayed outside the US Embassy for a quarter of an hour and then went to a bus stop in the vicinity.
At that point, the police approached and questioned him. While being arrested, he pulled his mask down and yelled: “Protest, protest against the Singapore Government, protest against the US Embassy.”
According to a report from the Institute of Mental Health, Yan was aware of the nature and wrongfulness of his actions, the DPP said.
However, the report also said he suffers from a delusional disorder, although no contributory link between the disorder and his offences had been made.
Yan repeatedly refused to answer questions from the judge on Monday (Jan 18), the first day of the trial. He did, however, at one point say that he wished to file a complaint against the judge but was ignored.
When he turned his back to the court, he was handcuffed to the front of the dock.
Yan has been in remand since shortly after his arrest last November, despite being offered S$10,000 bail. /TISG
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