TRS stoked ill-will towards foreigners for profit: DPP

Yang and his Australian wife Takagi face seven counts of sedition for deliberately sowing discord between Singaporeans and foreigners through a series of articles and a Facebook update.
Yang and his Australian wife Takagi face seven counts of sedition for deliberately sowing discord between Singaporeans and foreigners through a series of articles and a Facebook update.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

The sedition trial of the couple said to be behind The Real Singapore (TRS) news portal kicked off yesterday, with the prosecution saying the duo had "profited handsomely" from the xenophobic and racist content on their website.

Singaporean Yang Kaiheng and his Australian wife Ai Takagi had allegedly earned sums of A$20,000 (S$20,500) to A$50,000 a month for the portal, which was shut down.

The couple face seven counts of sedition for deliberately sowing discord between Singaporeans and foreigners through a series of six articles and a Facebook update that they posted online between Oct 13, 2013, and Feb 4 last year.

 

Each is also charged with refusing to hand over documents on the advertising revenue of their website during police investigations.

In opening remarks yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan said that Yang and Takagi had repeatedly targeted foreigners residing in Singapore through inflammatory articles.

They "resorted to concocting scandalous, provocative and racy material" and even doctored articles contributed by ordinary Singaporeans, he said.

Yesterday, Takagi, 23, said she would plead guilty today.

Yang, 27, is denying the charges and will claim trial.

Rachel Au-Yong

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2016, with the headline 'TRS stoked ill-will towards foreigners for profit: DPP'. Print Edition | Subscribe