Activist faces seven charges

Jolovan Wham is also accused of refusing to sign police statements that he had made at the Police Cantonment Complex.
Jolovan Wham is also accused of refusing to sign police statements that he had made at the Police Cantonment Complex.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Alleged offences include organising public assemblies without a permit and vandalism

Activist Jolovan Wham Kwok Han, 37, was hauled to court yesterday to face seven charges, including one count of vandalism.

Wham, who is the former executive director of migrant worker advocacy group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, was also charged with three counts each of organising a public assembly without a permit and refusing to sign police statements.

On Nov 26 last year, he allegedly organised a public assembly without a permit at The Agora on the third storey of Midview City shopping mall in Sin Ming Lane near Upper Thomson Road.

Wham is said to have organised the event to publicise the cause of "civil disobedience and democracy in social change".

According to court documents, Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong Chi-Fung gave a speech remotely at the assembly and this was screened in real time.

Following this incident, Wham purportedly refused to sign a statement he made at the Police Cantonment Complex on Dec 20 last year.

Wham is accused of organising another public assembly without a permit on MRT trains along the North-South Line on June 3.

He allegedly did so to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Operation Spectrum - an internal security operation that saw 22 activists arrested in 1987 in what the Government called a Marxist plot aimed at overthrowing it.

Wham is also said to have committed vandalism while riding on a train that day. He allegedly pasted two sheets of A4-sized paper on a panel. The papers are said to have had these messages written on them: "Marxist conspiracy? #notodetentionwithouttrial" and "Justice for Operation Spectrum survivors #notodetentionwithouttrial".

He was at the Police Cantonment Complex again 16 days later where he allegedly refused to sign another statement that he had made.

Wham is also said to have organised a third public assembly without a permit on July 13.

This time, he allegedly held a vigil at a bus stop outside Changi Prison Complex ahead of the judicial execution of drug offender Prabagaran Srivijayan, 29. The Malaysian, earlier convicted of importing 22.24g of heroin into Singapore, was hanged the next day.

According to a police statement on Tuesday, 16 other people were investigated for their various roles in organising and participating in this vigil. They include Mr Terry Xu, chief editor of sociopolitical website The Online Citizen, and freelance journalist Kirsten Han, who founded and writes for New Naratif. The police said investigations into their cases are ongoing.

Wham purportedly refused to sign a police statement again on Sept 13.

He is unrepresented by a lawyer and told the court yesterday that he plans to seek legal advice.

Wham is now out on $8,000 bail and the pre-trial conference for his cases will be held on Dec 13.

More than 10 people came to court to observe the proceedings. They included blogger Han Hui Hui and former political detainee Teo Soh Lung.

Those convicted of vandalism can be fined up to $2,000, or jailed for up to three years with between three and eight strokes of the cane. First-time offenders convicted of committing vandalism with non-permanent substances will not be caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2017, with the headline 'Activist faces seven charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe