Former political detainee Teo Soh Lung has asserted that the recent police action against The Online Citizen (TOC) and its editor Terry Xu shows how “unsafe” Singapore is.
Earlier, TOC revealed on Facebook that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) is investigating the editor of the website over an alleged offence of criminal defamation. The website added that all electronic equipment used for the purpose of the website have been seized by the SPF:
“The equipment, which include desktop, mobile devices and laptops, was seized at the residence of Terry Xu in the presence of five police officers this morning. No confirmed date of return has been given as investigation will take some time to conclude.”
The only editor of the website, Terry Xu, was summoned to the Cantonment Police Station at 3pm on Tuesday.
Support poured forth for Xu in the hours that followed with international organisations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International joining those criticising the authorities for taking such action against the socio-political website.
Teo Soh Lung, a lawyer and former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee, has also voiced her support for TOC.
Asking why the police report against TOC was allegedly lodged by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) if the story TOC ran impugned the name of the “Government’s highest officers,” as reported by the national broadsheet, Teo asserted:
“I don’t know if you have ever asked yourself whether you are safe at home. I have and I have been asking this question for a very long time.
“With the recent police raids conducted at the homes of Terry Xu, the chief editor of The Online Citizen and Willy Sum, a blogger, apparently with the permission of our most highly respected institution, our courts, it is confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Singapore is a very unsafe city state.
“Singapore is unsafe not because the people are unscrupulous, untrustworthy and are crooks. No, Singaporeans are the nicest people on this planet. We are courteous and always helpful.
“Singapore is unsafe because the people who are supposed to protect them are no longer capable of doing so.
“We all know that the police have power to wake you up in the middle of the night and raid your homes. Raids have happened before the recent cases of Terry Xu and Willy Sum. Remember the Sungei Road Association Chairman, Mr Koh Eng Khoon? He was woken up at midnight and had his home ransacked by the police? They took away his mobile phone and never apologised even though they soon realised that they had mistreated and traumatised an innocent elderly man and his wife.
“Don’t comfort yourself that you are not Terry Xu, Willy Sum, Koh Eng Khoon or me and you will never have your homes raided. Like you, we never dreamt that our homes, our refuge, could be raided and our most personal and precious properties – our mobile phones, laptops, desktops, thumb drives and tablets seized by the police. We have not committed any crime. All we did was to give our honest opinion online. In the case of Terry Xu, he allowed those who have no voice, to express their views and to reach a wider audience.
“We are told that Terry Xu and Willy Sum are being investigated for an alleged case of criminal defamation committed against “the Government’s highest officers” (ST 21 Nov 2018). Who are these so-called highest officers? Why are they so privileged that they are entitled to make use of our police force to investigate their dubious claims? Why cannot they take civil suits against Terry Xu and Willy Sum?
“But hold it. I may be wrong here. They, these “Government’s highest officers” did not lodge a police report against Terry Xu or Willy Sum. It was the Infocomm Media Development Authority or notoriously known as IMDA which lodge the police report.
“My question therefore is this: Did these so called “Government’s highest officers” instruct IMDA to lodge the police report which then compelled the police to apply to our courts for permission to raid the homes of Terry Xu and Willy Sum?
“I don’t know and I hope these “Government highest officers” will answer my question. If they did not authorise IMDA, then why was the police report lodged? If they did authorise them, then I state in no uncertain terms that they have abused their power and disabuse the trust of the people. And I demand an answer.”
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