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Shanmugam questions motives of Nikkei Asia writer who alleged KTVs are illegal brothels, now charged with possessing obscene films

The writer seemingly exhibited high moral expectations and outrage over the “open secret” concerning the KTV lounges, but he has now been charged for multiple counts of possessing obscene films and transmitting obscene materials in a sex-themed chatgroup.

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Singapore — Law and Home Affairs Minister called it ironic that the Nikkei Asia writer who had suggested that KTVs are illegal brothels controlled by organised crime is now facing obscenity charges.

In a Jul 23 opinion piece, Mr Andy Wong seemingly exhibited moral outrage over the “open secret” concerning the KTV lounges, and citing “the institutional failure of the country’s much-vaunted law enforcement to clamp down on them.”

On Wednesday, (Jul 28) a director from the MHA debunked the allegations in Mr Wong’s piece, saying that it is “full of inaccuracies” and that it should have The MHA director said in a statement that the opinion piece should have been “based on facts, not imagined realities”.

However, it was also reported that Mr Wong was one of four men charged in court earlier that day with possessing or transmitting obscene materials via a chat group on the Telegram messaging app.

In a Facebook post on Thursday (Jul 29), Mr Shanmugam weighed in, making a list of all the untruths Mr Wong had written, and adding, “His piece was little more than a work of fiction.”

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“A strong sense of moral outrage, at what he considered improper sexual conduct, ran through the article, spiced with various untrue suggestions, and attacks on Government policies in regulating sexual conduct,” the Minister added.

And while the MHA in its statement commended Mr Wong for “his high moral expectations,” Mr Shanmugam added, “Ironically, Mr Wong has been charged yesterday for multiple counts of possessing obscene films and transmitting obscene materials in a sex-themed chatgroup.”

The Minister wrote that he and the other men charged had been under investigation since Nov 2019.

He then called it “surprising” that Nikkei Asia published his article, and cast doubt on Mr Wong’s motives for writing it in the first place.

“The Government has, and will take a tough approach to sexual crime. We are left to wonder if the criminal investigation against him was the reason for his diatribe based on falsehoods; and the extent to which he was doing a political hack job (his political affiliation is public).”

Mr Wong was described in Nikkei Asia as “a political and business intelligence analyst based in Singapore.” He had pointed out in his piece that 192 Covid-19 infections were directly linked to an outbreak centred around KTV lounges.

He also alluded to the darker side of these establishments, writing that they are “not innocent family-friendly affairs” but “are fronts for illegal brothels run by organized crime cartels,” similar to “another outbreak in Taiwan earlier this year.”

Mr Wong added that the KTV lounge outbreak “exposed the pernicious role of organized vice enterprises in Singapore, and the institutional failure of the country’s much-vaunted law enforcement to clamp down on them,” and that these lounges operating for decades despite the country’s reputation for moral policing and “being hard on crime” is an open secret. /TISG

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Read related: Full of inaccuracies: MHA on Nikkei Asia opinion piece that KTVs are illegal brothels controlled by organised crime

Full of inaccuracies: MHA on Nikkei Asia opinion piece that KTVs are illegal brothels controlled by organised crime

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