Man fined for organising procession in support of Million Mask March

Jacob Lau Jian Rong was fined $1,000 on Tuesday for organising a public procession from City Hall MRT station to demonstrate support for the "Million Mask March Singapore''. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Jacob Lau Jian Rong was fined $1,000 on Tuesday for organising a public procession from City Hall MRT station to demonstrate support for the "Million Mask March Singapore''. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A man was fined $1,000 on Tuesday for organising a public procession from City Hall MRT station to demonstrate support for the "Million Mask March Singapore''.

Jacob Lau Jian Rong, 24, then a claims officer, admitted to the offence on Nov 5, Guy Fawkes Day.

The court heard he and nine others were arrested at a taxi stand outside Robinsons at Raffles City Shopping Centre that evening on suspicion of having committed offences against public order. Several of them had at least one Guy Fawkes mask, and one had donned the mask.

Investigation showed the group had been part of a public procession at Raffles City in support of the Million Mask March, an online movement which called for 24-hour protests globally on Guy Fawkes Day. Supporters were encouraged to wear the Guy Fawkes masks as a form of social protest.

This movement was promoted in Singapore through various social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, and in particular, on an event page titled "Million Mask March Singapore'' created by an unknown person earlier in July.

Police had advised the public that it was illegal to organise or take part in public assembly without a permit that day.

Lau went to Hong Lim Park that morning but the march did not materialise. He and a few others then discussed about postponing the march to the evening.

That afternoon, he put up a post on the event page to postpone the march to 7pm at City Hall MRT.

More than 100 comments were posted on the event page. Through the comments, it was agreed that the participants would dress in black and/or red and don a Guy Fawkes mask.

After meeting at City Hall MRT station, they would don their masks and move in fours to minimise the possibility of the public calling the police.

Lau and the group were arrested before they could move off from Raffles City. He was found with a mask. More masks were seized from others.

Lau, who is now a bank teller, could have been fined up to $5,000 for the offence under the Public Order Act.