Blogger fined for organising rally, being a public nuisance

Mr Roy Ngerng is the second of six protesters charged with causing a public nuisance to plead guilty.
Mr Roy Ngerng is the second of six protesters charged with causing a public nuisance to plead guilty.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Blogger Roy Ngerng Yi Ling yesterday pleaded guilty to co-organising a protest rally at Hong Lim Park without approval on Sept 27 last year, and for disrupting a charity carnival being held at the park then.

He was fined a total of $1,900 - $400 for being a public nuisance, and $1,500 for organising a demonstration without approval - by District Judge Liew Thiam Leng.

The 34-year-old blogger, who contested Ang Mo Kio GRC under the Reform Party banner at the recent General Election, is the second of six protesters charged with causing a public nuisance to plead guilty.

Ms Chua Siew Leng, 43, who does not hold a regular job, pleaded guilty in March. She was fined $300.

The cases against the other four accused - two of whom also contested the recent polls - have been fixed for a joint trial next week.

Han Hui Hui, 24, who contested Radin Mas SMC as an independent candidate, faces the same two charges as Mr Ngerng.

Janet Low Wai Choo, 55, who contested Chua Chu Kang GRC with the People's Power Party, faces one charge of being a public nuisance. The other two are Goh Aik Huat, 42, and Ivan Koh Yew Beng, 60.

Asked by reporters after the hearing if he would continue in opposition politics, Mr Ngerng said: "At this point, I am going to focus on putting food on the table."

At the election, his team got 21.36 per cent of the votes in Ang Mo Kio GRC .

The six are accused of disrupting the YMCA Proms @ The Park charity event for children with special needs, which was held at Hong Lim Park at the same time as the Return Our CPF protest rally.

They grew "more emotive" when Minister of State Teo Ser Luck, the YMCA event's main guest, arrived at the park. They marched four times around the general vicinity of the YMCA event, shouting loudly, chanting slogans, waving flags, holding placards, blowing whistles loudly and beating drums.

Deputy Public Prosecutor John Lu said yesterday that although approval was granted for them to give a "speech" at Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park, they had not applied for approval to organise a demonstration.

In mitigation, Mr Ngerng's lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said his client has contributed to society by, for example, teaching autistic children and volunteering with special needs children for three years.

He added that Mr Ngerng believed there was no need for further approval to demonstrate, and that his actions were fuelled by a "genuine belief" that he was speaking up on a matter of public interest.

Mr Ngerng could have been fined up to $1,000 for being a public nuisance, and up to $5,000 for holding a demonstration without approval.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2015, with the headline 'Blogger fined for organising rally, being a public nuisance'. Print Edition | Subscribe