Youth who restrained teen blogger charged

Loke is accused of using criminal force on teen blogger Amos Yee by holding onto his hands and using his arms to restrain him from the back at Jurong Point mall on May 29.
Loke is accused of using criminal force on teen blogger Amos Yee by holding onto his hands and using his arms to restrain him from the back at Jurong Point mall on May 29.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A 19-year-old who allegedly used his arms to restrain teen blogger Amos Yee at a shopping mall one Sunday afternoon was charged in court yesterday.

Byron Loke Thong Ler is accused of using criminal force on the 17-year-old by holding onto his hands and using his arms to restrain him from the back at Jurong Point mall on May 29.

A video of the incident was posted on YouTube by Yee, who was heard shouting "Help me" repeatedly.

Loke, who was unrepresented, told the court that he wished to engage a lawyer. A pre-trial conference will be held on Sept 6.

This is the second time that Yee has been attacked. In May last year, a 49-year-old businessman was jailed for three weeks for slapping the teen when he was walking to the State Courts for an April 30 pre- trial conference. The father of three had wanted to teach Yee "a lesson".

In meting out the "sufficiently deterrent sentence", District Judge Ronald Gwee said a strong message must be sent so that the man's brand of vigilante justice must never be allowed to take root, lest it opens the floodgates to future cases of aggrieved individuals taking matters into their own hands.

If convicted of using criminal force, Loke could be jailed for up to three months and/or fined up to $1,500.

Meanwhile, Yee is fighting his own case in court on six charges of intending to wound the feelings of Muslims or Christians - via five videos and a photo - and two counts of failing to report to Jurong Police Division for investigation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2016, with the headline 'Youth who restrained teen blogger charged'. Print Edition | Subscribe