SINGAPORE — A man who had 10 previous convictions for protest-related offences tried, at his 11th trial, to summon Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for questioning.
The judge did not respond to this request. Instead, he gave the man, 47-year-old Singaporean Yan Jun, the maximum sentence on Friday (Oct 20) — one year in jail and a fine of S$5,000 — for staging an illegal protest outside the United States Embassy on Aug 20.
The serial protester was given an additional 100 days’ jail sentence for committing the offences while on remission from prison.
Yan had chosen to contest his two charges for taking part in a public assembly without a permit and behaving in a disorderly manner in front of the US Embassy along Napier Road on the afternoon of Aug 20.
He had previously been convicted of similar offences between 2016 and 2022, some of which were committed while also on a remission order from prison.
During the latest trial, conducted over two days, two police officers and an investigation officer were called to the witness stand to give their testimony.
Body cam footage from police sergeant Muhammad Fariz Jumali showed Yan holding placards and shouting in English and Mandarin.
Some of the phrases that were on his placard include:
“Protest against Electoral Fraud in 2023 Presidential Election and the upcoming GE!””PAP: Justify Roach Espionage Scandal, Balloon Conspiracy and Electoral Fraud before the GE!””Singapore’s Legal System is totally corrupt!”
These placards were seized by the police along with Yan’s printer and laptop.
When it came time for Yan to take the stand, District Judge John Ng asked if he had any witnesses he intended to call.
Yan said yes and asked the court to summon PM Lee, Senior Judge Chao Hick Tin and Attorney-General Lucien Wong.
“I request to summon them to this court room to answer my questions because my allegations were quite serious and could seriously damage the reputation of the Government,” added Yan.
The judge did not respond to his request and decided to allow the prosecution to cross-examine Yan instead.
Since he did not challenge any of evidence or the charges brought against him, Deputy Public Prosecutor Rimplejit Kaur proceeded to put forth the charges for Yan to agree or disagree.
However, instead of giving a response to DPP Kaur, Yan refused to answer her unless she or the Government answered his various allegations.
Yan also asked the judge to send him back to Changi Prison, claiming that the hearing was “not fair”.
When Yan was told that it was not possible as he needed to be present for his trial, he told the court he “represented justice” in the courtroom and in Singapore, and not the judge in court.
Yan also said that if the judge did not represent justice, he should recuse himself and ask someone else to replace him.
‘PROCESS IS REPEATING ITSELF’
In seeking the maximum sentence, the prosecution pointed out that the circumstances of Yan’s current offences were similar to his previous conviction last year.
The prosecution also sought an additional sentence of 71 days’ jail for committing the offences while on remission from prison, saying that Yan reoffended just 15 days from his release.
In delivering his sentence, District Judge Ng noted that this is already Yan’s 11th trial and that the process is “repeating itself”, with the same outcome.
“I do not know how you can move out of this cyclical pattern, but I wish you all the best,” he told Yan.
Anyone guilty of taking part in a public assembly without a permit can be fined up to S$3,000. Repeat offenders can be fined up to S$5,000.
Those guilty of disorderly behaviour in public can be jailed up to six months or fined up to S$2,000, or both. Repeat offenders can be jailed up to 12 months or fined up to S$5,000, or both.