TRS case: Yang Kaiheng admits getting advertisers on website's Facebook page

Yang Kaiheng (right) and his wife Ai Takagi arriving at the State Courts on March 28, 2016.
Yang Kaiheng (right) and his wife Ai Takagi arriving at the State Courts on March 28, 2016. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - The man who started socio-political website The Real Singapore (TRS) admitted that although he did not manage the TRS Facebook page at all, he would get people to advertise on it.

Yang Kaiheng, 27, who is on trial for sedition, told a senior police officer that he mainly did the advertisement for the TRS Facebook page which included things like iPhone and Andoid apps. He said Google Adsense paid a certain amount of money to his then girlfriend, Ai Takagi, as advertisement fees.

He has since married the 23-year-old Australian of Japanese descent. Takagi, who is eight weeks pregnant, was sentenced to 10 months' jail last week after admitting to four charges of publishing seditious articles on the TRS website.

 
 

Takagi, owner and chief editor TRS, was responsible for the day-to-day editorial operations of TRS, including authoring content and searching the Internet for interesting content to publish on the website.

She would select material from "contributors" for publication - either with or without editing the contributions.

The stated aim of TRS, set up in 2012, was to be a platform where Singaporeans could express their thoughts and voice their complaints in their day-to-day life freely and anonymously. The TRS website and Facebook page were shut down on May 3 last year.

Yang, defended by Mr Choo Zheng Xi, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

He is facing seven charges of publishing seditious articles on the TRS website and a seditious Facebook post on the Facebook page of TRS which had the tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population of Singapore such as between ethnic Indian Singaporeans and Filipinos.

An eighth charge of failing to produce documents showing revenue information pertaining to advertising on TRS has been stood down.

The couple were arrested in Singapore on Feb 6 last year.

The prosecution called Deputy Superintendent of Police Roy Lim, the investigation officer of the case, as its first witness. He continues his testimony before District Judge Ng Peng Hong.

If convicted, Yang could be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to three years.