Facebook user fined for fabricated posting on Little India riot

SINGAPORE - A technician was fined $5,000 on Thursday for sending a false message through Facebook that three police officers and two civil defence officers died in the Little India riot.

Desmond Lum Mun Hui, 28, pleaded guilty to transmitting a message which he knew to be fabricated through Facebook on Dec 9 last year, a day after the riot.

He posted the comment: "Yesterday riot cause 3 spf and 2 cd dead.. all nsf.. haiz.. sg..'' from his home in Jurong West Street 42.

The term "spf'' referred to the Singapore Police Force and "cd'', Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Nim said that on Dec 9, Lum was reading the posting online regarding the riot.

He noted the large number of posts relating to the incident, and proceeded to transmit the message - which he knew to be fabricated - on Facebook.

He meant to convey regret that three full-time national servicemen from the police and two NSF from SCDF had died in the riot.

When the post attracted comments expressing disbelief, Lum proceeded to substantiate his initial post by stating, "Yup.. not publish news'', and "My fren on duty that night''.

Further investigation showed that on Dec 10, a 32-year-old informant was browsing his Facebook account when he came across the message transmitted by Lum and lodged a police report.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim took into consideration that Lum was a first offender and had pleaded guilty at the first instance. But she said that any fine imposed could not simply be a slap on the wrist.

Lum could have been fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to three years or been given both penalties under the Telecommunications Act.