Teen blogger Amos Yee to claim trial to 8 charges

Amos Yee (left) seen walking to court on Thursday, May 26, 2016, with his mother Mary Toh behind him.
Amos Yee (left) seen walking to court on Thursday, May 26, 2016, with his mother Mary Toh behind him.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Teen blogger Amos Yee was back in court on Thursday (May 26), a year after he made the news for uploading an obscene image on his blog and for making remarks to hurt the feelings of Christians in a YouTube video.

This time, the 17-year-old faces six charges of intending to wound the feelings of Muslims and Christians, and two counts of failing to report to Jurong Police Division for investigations. The alleged offences were committed between November last year and earlier this month.

Yee, who did not have a lawyer, told District Judge Ronald Gwee that he intends to claim trial to all the charges.

A pre-trial conference has been fixed for next Monday.

Yee, who sported shoulder-length hair and was dressed in a khaki T-shirt and white trousers, was accompanied in court by his mother Mary Toh and Reform Party Secretary-General Kenneth Jeyaretnam.

  • The eight charges:

  • 1. Uploading to Facebook a video which contained remarks against Islam around Nov 28 last year

  • 2. Uploading to a blog a video which contained remarks against Islam around Dec 17 last year

  • 3. Uploading to YouTube a video which contained gestures and remarks against Christianity around April 14

  • 4. Uploading to Facebook a photo of him showing his middle finger to a copy of the Quran around April 17

  • 5. Uploading to YouTube a video which contained gestures and remarks against Islam around May 8

  • 6. Uploading to YouTube and Vimeo a video which contained gestures and remarks against Islam around May 19

  • 7. Failing to report to Jurong Police Division at 9am on Dec 14 last year despite a police officer's notice to do so

  • 8. Failing to report to Jurong Police Division at 9am on May 10 despite a Magistrate's order to do so

He is out on $5,000 bail.

After reports were lodged with police over online remarks he made last year, the police issued a notice in December ordering Yee to report for investigations at Jurong Police Division.

But Yee failed to do so. He left the country shortly after and remained overseas until last month.

When he returned, he was served with a Magistrate's order to report again at the police station, but did not comply.

He was arrested two weeks ago and bailed out of police custody by his mother the same day.

The maximum punishment for deliberately wounding the religious or racial feelings of any person is three years' jail and a fine.

The maximum punishment for failing to present oneself at a certain time and place pursuant to a notice or order from a public servant is one months' jail and a $1,500 fine.

Yee first came to the attention of the authorities when he uploaded an expletive-laden video on March 27 last year, four days after the death of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. He later also posted an obscene image on his blog.

He was convicted on May 12 last year and sentenced on July 6 to four weeks' jail. He was released the same day as the punishment was backdated to include his time in remand, as he had spent about 50 days in Changi Prison after repeatedly breaching bail conditions.