TRS trial: Yang Kaiheng expected to plead guilty on Friday 

Yang Kaiheng and his wife Ai Takagi arriving at the State Courts on 8 April.
Yang Kaiheng and his wife Ai Takagi arriving at the State Courts on 8 April.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Yang Kaiheng, one half of the husband-and-wife team that set up the sociopolitical website The Real Singapore, told a court hearing on Wednesday (June 22) that he intends to plead guilty to charges under the Sedition Act.

This comes as the second tranche of Yang's trial was due to begin. The first tranche started in March and took seven days.

Yang, 27, appeared in a State Court on Wednesday clad in a long-sleeved T-shirt and knee-length Bermuda shorts. 

He and his 23-year-old wife Ai Takagi were charged in April last year with seven counts of sedition over articles published on the now-defunct website. The duo were also charged with one count of failing to produce documents to the police.

Among the contentious articles published by the couple was one which  falsely asserted that a Filipino family had caused an incident between the police and participants of the Thaipusam procession. 

Takagi, an Australian citizen, had pleaded guilty to publishing inflammatory articles on The Real Singapore news portal and its Facebook page.

She was convicted of four charges of sedition in March and is now serving a 10-month jail term. 

Yang, however, denied the charges then, and claimed trial. 

In the first tranche of his trial this year, Yang had admitted to lying in court after the prosecution pointed out inconsistencies in his testimony. 

He said he had set up a Facebook page to criticise MP Tin Pei Ling with Takagi shortly after the May 2011 General Election. However, this was shown in court to be untrue as the couple met only in September 2011, four months after the election. 

And while he also started The Real Singapore website with Takagi and a friend, he told police that he did not know of his friend's involvement. 

Yang's case will be mentioned again on Friday (June 24) and he is expected to plead guilty to six counts of sedition. 

The maximum punishment under the Sedition Act is a $5,000 fine and three years' jail on each charge.