Singapore Censors Discussion of Hong Kong Protests

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Hong Kong restaurateur and YouTube celebrity Alex Yeung is under investigation by Singapore police for holding a discussion of the Hong Kong protests in a Singaporean bar last month, purportedly a violation of Singapore’s strict regulations on public assembly.

AFP reported on Friday that Yeung’s confab was not supportive of the protest movement, but the incident may nevertheless rattle a Singaporean elite that is very nervous about the pro-democracy movement spreading:

Alex Yeung, a restaurateur known for his anti-protest tirades on YouTube, allegedly held the gathering last month which started in a bar and shifted to a public area, police said.

Footage circulating online showed Yeung at a Singapore bar with what appeared to be about two dozen people, criticizing the protesters and Hong Kong pro-democracy figures.

Organizing a public assembly without a permit in Singapore is punishable by a fine of up to S$5,000 (US$3,700). Repeat offenders can be fined up to Sg$10,000 or jailed for a maximum of six months or both.

According to AFP, Yeung has not actually been arrested yet, but his passport was confiscated. In response, Yeung accused the Hong Kong protest movement and its supporters of somehow tricking him into violating Singapore’s harsh laws. Police officials said he is “neither arrested nor in police custody and is free to go about his activities within Singapore.”

The police took the opportunity to remind Singaporeans that “organizing or participating in a public assembly without a police permit” is illegal, and such permits will never be granted for “assemblies that advocate political causes of other countries.”

“I never thought I would violate any laws in Singapore and I never thought to engage in political activities,” he insisted.

“Please don’t politicize the matter, it has nothing to do with Singapore or the Chinese government. I wish to bear all the responsibility, instead of hurting the feelings of two countries. So, I won’t seek help from the Chinese embassy,” he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

The South China Morning Post noted that Yeung “has become a hate figure for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp” because he has “expressed strong support for the Hong Kong police and alleged that young students had been paid to attend anti-government protests.”

Hong Kong democracy activists regard Yeung as a shill for the Communist Chinese government and accuse him of spreading fake news through his YouTube channel. Yeung insists that he is not a political actor and only offers his own opinions.

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