Court u-turns and blocks prestigious UK uni student’s exit, maintains ‘gag order’ despite victims’ overwhelming requests

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After much hoo-ha across social media, over a District Judge’s decision to allow a high-profile Singaporean undergraduate of a prestigious UK university, to leave the country to take up studies, the same judge, Adam Nakhoda, over-ruled his own earlier ruling that allowed the accused to leave the Republic.

Agreeing with the Prosecutors that his exit constitutes a ‘high flight risk’, the Judge said:

“I agree with the prosecution that the newly produced log of phone text messages between the accused and one of his friends showed that the man was predisposed towards absconding and should therefore be considered a high flight risk.”

According to TODAY, the student, who is accused of filming women in toilets, returned to court two days after lawyers argued over two issues: Whether the judge should reverse his decision to allow him to travel overseas, and if the court order prohibiting his name from being published should be lifted.

The Judge, however, refused the Prosecution’s application to have a ‘gag order’ lifted, and hence the law still prohibits the publication of the name of the accused, or any action that may lead to the accused’s identity being exposed to the public. Gag orders are conveniently used by Singapore courts to argue on the basis that it might lead to a perpetrator’s victims’ being identified. However, this time round, there had been several victims who came out to say they do not mind the risk, and that his identity should not be concealed to the public:

“However, I decline to lift the gag order over the accused’s name because there are still two victims who have not unequivocally agreed to the risk that their identities will become known.”

According to TODAY, out of his 12 alleged victims, 10 of them wanted his identity published.

Prosecutors have said that for the remaining two, one “expressed some reservations”, while the last one — a 16-year-old minor — was not consulted at her family’s request.

I agree that the victims’ consent to the accused’s identity being disclosed does not amount to the victims waiving their rights to anonymity.

It is a case of them accepting the risks that their identities may be exposed if the identity of the accused is made known,” the judge said.

As a result, even the university he attends, is not named.

However, States Times Review quesitioned the special treatment given to this particular case, apparently because of the “rich” background of the accused.

“Previous peeping tom cases have (seen) all the perpetrators identified and this is the first time a criminal was protected by the gag order”, STR said.

Hong Kong revellers shout ‘Reclaim Hong Kong, Revolution of our times’ at strike of midnight, 2020

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SCMP photo.

Just like their Singapore counterparts, Hong Kong party revellers gathered in huge numbers beside their Bay, to usher in 2020 before midnight this morning, with protesters vowing to ‘join in’ the celebrations and continue their fight for freedom.

True enough, a number of interviewees on Apple Daily’s coverage of the otherwise festive night, have voiced support for the continuing fight for freedom and democracy for Hong Kong, as the city is faced with stronger clamping down of rights by mainland China’s authoritarian central government.

At the clock struck midnight, cheers and shouts of “Reclaim Hong Kong (光復香港)” and “Revolution of our Times (時代革命)” endured the night sky, even as fireworks were lit across it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Hong Kong, there were less peaceful scenes of dissent, with ‘Brave Front (勇武)’ protesters clashing with riot police:

 

WP’s Yee gives serious tough-lashing to PAP on New Year’s Day

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Workers’ Party’s Yee Jenn Jong also has a stark message for Singaporean voters. On his Facebook post, he wrote:

Some point to instability in other countries and say that we are wasting our time building an alternative because we should only have the stability of one strong government (forever!). I think differently.

In what might have been referring to the ongoing (yes, even on New Year’s Eve) protest situation in Hong Kong, he quipped, reminding how important it is to let the people have a voice, chiding the PAP for destroying all Opposition since independence:

If there is no way for the people to make their choices felt, they can lose trust in the government and even take to the streets to riot or force a violent change if the government loses it way and becomes incompetent, or the people are very unhappy with life.

Given the way the alternatives have been squashed since independence, it will take time to build up and eventually offer an alternative strong stable government.

In conclusion, Yee opined that: 

“It is still a journey in the making. I believe we are stronger today than when I joined at the start of the decade.

PSP and WP make new year wishes to usher in the 2020 election year

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The Progress Singapore Party has posted a status with fireworks background, calling on Singaporeans to ‘bring it on’ this election year, while wishing us a ‘happy new year’ ahead of the 12mn countdown.

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On the other hand, Workers’ Party’s Yee Jenn Jong also has a stark message for Singaporean voters. On his Facebook post, he wrote:

“Some point to instability in other countries and say that we are wasting our time building an alternative because we should only have the stability of one strong government (forever!). I think differently.”

In what might have been referring to the ongoing (yes, even on New Year’s Eve) protest situation in Hong Kong, he quipped, reminding how important it is to let the people have a voice, chiding the PAP for destroying all Opposition since independence:

“If there is no way for the people to make their choices felt, they can lose trust in the government and even take to the streets to riot or force a violent change if the government loses it way and becomes incompetent, or the people are very unhappy with life. Given the way the alternatives have been squashed since independence, it will take time to build up and eventually offer an alternative strong stable government.

In conclusion, Yee opined that: 

“It is still a journey in the making. I believe we are stronger today than when I joined at the start of the decade.

Richard Lloyd Parry: We have no right to criticise the Hongkongers’ violence

The Asian editor of The Times of UK, Richard Lloyd Parry, has written a column published on 28 November, defending the Hongkongers’ fight against tyranny, and questioning the condemnation of violence by some – including in the West – of the Hong Kong protesters.

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In the article titled, Hong Kong: Sometimes you have to fight for freedom, he wrote: “We in the West have no right to condemn the violence of protesters facing tyranny.

Here are some quotes:

We like our moral heroes to be cuddly, as well as brave, and for the first few months the democracy protesters of Hong Kong met both of these requirements…A million Davids stood up against the Goliath of the Chinese state and people around the world cheered — until, in the past few weeks, it all started to turn nasty.

Let there be no doubt, there is no excuse for beating up people who disagree with you, or who arouse your suspicion because they are speaking mainland Chinese. But these crimes are nothing compared with the institutionalised violence bearing down on the protesters from all sides.

Hong Kong is deceptive, at least on superficial acquaintance…But the freedom has iron limits.

Despite limited autonomy, they are part of China, a one-party dictatorship with a history of murderously oppressing those who challenge its authority.

For all the visible trappings of civilisation, this is not London, New York or Tokyo. The protesters throwing firebombs at the police at the Polytechnic University are not to be compared to anti-war protesters or climate change demonstrators, or any of the activists on the streets of western cities. People in those places have no cause to resort to violence. Whether or not they get what they want, they have multiple means of articulating their grievances in print, on television, via the internet, as well as at the ballot box. In Hong Kong, unlike mainland China, people can express themselves freely but have no means to choose leaders who reflect the popular will.

Dreadful necessity

All of us of the right-thinking persuasion pride ourselves on “deploring violence”. But very few of us are true pacifists. In extreme circumstances, faced with a direct threat to the physical wellbeing of ourselves or our loved ones, many of us would raise a fist or something worse. Most people agree that against a threat like that posed by Nazi Germany, for example, even war can be a dreadful necessity.

What would the British do in a similar situation?

Many of us too would compromise our habitual respect for the authority of police and government if it were wielded in an oppressive and undemocratic way. Imagine some fantasy version of Britain, without genuinely elected leaders, in which a one-party state was encroaching on already limited freedoms. Faced with such a reality, thrown bricks would be the least of it.

‘Break the monopoly’ this GE, vote against ‘one-party rule’

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A Singaporean commentator has taken to Facebook to suggest a rephrasing and ‘repositioning’ of our agenda and discourse when urging more Singaporeans to vote against the PAP, and for more Opposition parties to occupy Parliament to fight for Singaporeans.

Albert Tay, whose post has garnered numerous likes and shares, opined that:

Instead of saying ‘Vote for the Opposition’, I urge you to say ‘Vote to end the one-party rule’, or ‘Vote against dictatorship’.

‘Vote for Opposition’ seems too much to suggest that we are having a free and fair electoral game here, which is not the case.

Taking a pessimistic stance on ‘VTO (short for: Vote Them Out)’, which he feels will not happen in ‘our lifetime’, he suggests using a more powerful and succinct “Break the Monopoly” rhetoric:

Also, instead of saying ‘VTO (Vote Them Out)’, which I don’t think will happen in our lifetime, I urge you to say ‘Break the Monopoly’, ‘End the monopoly’.

Concluding, he feels that ‘rephrasing and repositioning helps our messaging.’

See post: here

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PAP dominates almost every facet of Singapore life and politics.

Heartless CPF Board reveals identity of terminally-ill single mum who sought President’s assistance: Where is the respect?

Will ‘independent’ President Halimah speak up?

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It has been reported on The Online Citizen that a 45-year-old terminally ill single-mother who was featured in the publication’s report on Wednesday, took to Central Provident Funds (CPF) Board’s Facebook page after it published a clarification statement on her case, asking that the board not to mislead readers with its statement made on Thursday evening.

Ms Sua Li Li, a sufferer of depression and a terminal illness – whose full name and identity has been publicly outed by the Government agency on its Facebook page, waspreviously identified only as a ‘Ms Soo’, had sought President Halimah’s help to release her CPF Funds from Medisave and Special Accounts so that it can be used to help her financially as she had exhausted all her savings after being unemployed for the last three years due to her medical condition.

She suffers from Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus (SLE), or also known as lupus since 2011. SLE is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in many parts of the body. There is no cure for SLE.

She shared that she has exhausted all means of obtaining financial assistance, such as withdrawing all the funds in her insurance policies, short of terminating them.