Hong Lim Park 'picnic' for duo facing charges of public nuisance, organising demonstration without approval

Bloggers Han Hui Hui (right) and  Roy Ngerng (second from right) turned up in Hong Lim Park on Saturday, 25 Oct 2014, at about 4pm. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Bloggers Han Hui Hui (right) and  Roy Ngerng (second from right) turned up in Hong Lim Park on Saturday, 25 Oct 2014, at about 4pm. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Activist Han Hui Hui and blogger Roy Ngerng were at Hong Lim Park on Saturday for what they called a "nice picnic with friends", a day after receiving summonses for a court appearance to face charges of public nuisance and organising a demonstration without approval.

A group of at least 50 supporters, friends and others were also present. Many had waited in the shade of trees at Speakers' Corner to see if Mr Ngerng, 34, and Ms Han, 22, would make an appearance.

As people milled around, some spoke aloud, criticising various policies. Others urged those present to turn up at the State Court on Monday to support the duo - as well as four others who face public nuisance charges.

Mr Ngerng arrived just after 4pm and was greeted with handshakes and pats on the back.

"I'm just here for a picnic," he said as several jostled to take pictures with him.

He and a friend lay blue and pink mats on a patch of grass and sat down with a few packets of drinks. Ms Han arrived about 40 minutes later.

The National Parks Board initially gave Ms Han approval to stage the fifth in a series of "Return Our CPF" protest rallies at the park on Saturday.

But it revoked the approval on Tuesday. This was on the advice of the police as Ms Han was being investigated for a Sept 27 protest march she led at Hong Lim Park, which disrupted a charity carnival held on an adjacent lawn.

Her court appearance on Monday with Mr Ngerng and the four others is the result of those investigations.

Ms Han and Mr Ngerng declined to speak when approached by The Straits Times.

Over the next two hours, a stream of people approached them to ask how they were faring, and spoke critically about a range of issues - from the Central Provident Fund to housing.

The crowd dispersed gradually. Most left around 6pm and Mr Ngerng and Ms Han left separately in the direction of Clarke Quay MRT station at about 6.30pm.

In a Facebook post earlier, Mr Ngerng said the authorities were wrong to charge him and others for speaking up. He also worried about paying legal fees and the possible penalties they may face.