Singaporean fined for Skype call with HK protest leader


Fri, Feb 22, 2019 - Page 6

A Singapore court yesterday fined a rights activist for organizing an assembly without a permit after he organized a public conference where a high-profile Hong Kong pro-democracy leader spoke via Skype.

Jolovan Wham was handed a fine of S$2,000 (US$1,479) for organizing a public assembly without a permit. He was also given a S$1,200 fine for refusing to sign a statement that he gave to police.

Wham went ahead with the event “despite being informed that the event needed a permit,” Judge Kessler Soh told the court.

His lawyer, Eugene Thuraisingam, said that Wham would appeal the conviction, but if that fails, Wham would not pay the fines.

According to the court’s ruling, Wham would be jailed for 16 days unless the fines are paid.

The city-state has strict laws regulating public assembly and bans foreigners from participating in events dealing with a political cause.

The government has held the position that Singapore’s laws and regulations are needed to maintain social order and harmony.

The “Civil Disobedience and Social Movements” conference took place more than two years ago and involved a panel of activists critical of the Singaporean government.

Hong Kong democracy leader Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), who helped organize the “Umbrella movement” protests in 2014, participated in the event via Skype.

Last year, Hong Kong’s highest court freed Wong and two others, reversing a decision by a lower court to jail them for unlawful assembly.