Anton Casey and family leave for Perth amid threats

Briton Anton Casey, who left Singapore yesterday in the wake of his Facebook remarks disparaging public transport commuters
Briton Anton Casey, who left Singapore yesterday in the wake of his Facebook remarks disparaging public transport commuters

He offers to do community work to atone for 'poor people' remarks

Briton Anton Casey, who sparked a furore by calling public transport users "poor people", left Singapore for Perth yesterday because of threats made against his family.

The 39-year-old, who took along his wife - former Singapore beauty queen Bernice Wong - and five-year-old son to Western Australia state, also apologised again for his remarks, this time offering to do community work.

"I hope the people of Singapore will allow me to volunteer my time and resources to community projects in order to make amends for my mistakes," he wrote in an e-mail response last night to queries from The Straits Times.

"I also hope the people of Singapore, my adopted home, will forgive me over time."

They were spotted yesterday in the economy-class cabin by passengers on a 12.10am Singapore Airlines flight to Perth. Mr Casey was said to be wearing a cap and looking tired. The senior wealth manager, a Singapore permanent resident, explained that his decision to leave was "due to threats made towards my family".

"Singapore is our home, and we hope to return when we feel safe," said Mr Casey, pointing out that he has lived here for 12 years, and his wife and child are citizens.

His ordeal mirrors that of former NTUC employee Amy Cheong, who returned to Perth after her expletive-laden Facebook rant disparaging Malay weddings in October 2012 came under fire.

The Malaysian-born Australian was sacked by NTUC, a point highlighted by labour MP Zainal Sapari in a Facebook post on Thursday. "NTUC was decisive in sending a clear message when our staff crossed the line. Will Crossinvest Asia do the same?" he asked, referring to Mr Casey's employer in Singapore.

Crossinvest had earlier said in a statement that it was investigating the matter, which began when two of Mr Casey's Facebook posts began circulating on the Internet on Monday.

In one, a picture of his five- year-old son on an MRT train was accompanied by the caption: "Daddy where is your car & who are all these poor people?" In the other post, his son is seen in a silver Porsche with the comment: "Normal service can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me."

The Singapore public responded with indignation, with Law Minister K. Shanmugam saying on Thursday that he was "terribly upset and offended" by the posts.

The issue has also made waves overseas, with publications in Australia, Britain and Hong Kong carrying reports.

Mr Casey wrote in yesterday's e-mail: "This week, I have made the greatest mistake of my life."