Amos Yee regrets his 'hate speech'

CHICAGO • Singaporean blogger Amos Yee, who is seeking political asylum in the United States, has expressed regret for the inflammatory posts that landed him in jail twice.

Mr Yee, 18, who is currently detained in Illinois, told Reuters that the videos he filmed insulting the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and various religions were in bad taste.

"I told you, it is hate speech, it is overly rude, it isn't good activism," he said by telephone from the McHenry County Adult Correctional Facility in Illinois. "I completely regret making those videos."

Mr Yee was jailed for four weeks in 2015 for uploading an obscene image and making remarks intending to hurt the feelings of Christians. Last September, he was sentenced to six weeks in jail for posting comments on the Internet critical of Christianity and Islam.

The teenager arrived at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Dec 16 and told US Customs officials he was seeking political asylum.

Mr Yee said he wanted to live in Illinois and has no plans to return to Singapore. He should have his first hearing in front of a judge within two weeks, said his lawyer, Ms Sandra Grossman.

Mr Yee said he has had no contact with the Singapore Government since arriving in the US.

While highly critical of actions of the US government abroad, particularly drone strikes in the Middle East, Mr Yee said the US provided the best platform for spreading his message of anarchist communism and ending private property and wage labour.

"It is not going to the best country. This is about going to the country that most effectively promotes my political philosophy of anarchical communism," Mr Yee said.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 01, 2017, with the headline Amos Yee regrets his 'hate speech'. Subscribe