Hong Konger who held illegal public gathering in Singapore repatriated

Owner of the Wah Kee chain of restaurants Alex Yeung will not be allowed to enter Singapore again without prior permission from the Controller of Immigration. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ALEX YEUNG/YOUTUBE

The Hong Kong restaurant owner who organised an illegal public gathering in Singapore last month to discuss the Hong Kong protests was given a stern warning by the police, and repatriated.

Mr Alex Yeung will not be allowed to enter Singapore again without prior permission from the Controller of Immigration, said the police last night.

Aside from him, a Singaporean real estate businessman has also been warned for facilitating the gathering.

Mr Philip Chan, 55, a former Hong Kong resident, owns Kimoto Gastro Bar located at The Sail@ Marina Bay, where the gathering was held on Oct 11 evening. He is the president of the Kowloon club here, which helps new immigrants integrate into Singapore society.

The gathering - which The Straits Times understands lasted about 30 minutes - was attended by mostly Hong Kongers living here who were asked to share their views on the protests.

In a video of the event, Mr Yeung was seen speaking to at least 10 people. He also led them in a chant in Cantonese: "Support Hong Kong police, protect Hong Kong, justice will win." Mr Chan was not in the video.

Both Mr Yeung and Mr Chan had their passports impounded while investigations were ongoing.

The police said Mr Yeung had been assisting the police with ongoing investigations regarding a public assembly that was held without the requisite police permit. That is an offence under the Public Order Act.

They added: "Singapore has always been clear that foreigners should not advocate their political causes in Singapore, through public assemblies, and other prohibited means."

The Straits Times understands that Mr Yeung and Mr Chan met a Chinese Embassy official on Tuesday morning. The embassy did not respond to queries from the paper.

In its statement, the police said: "There have been calls for Singapore to release Mr Alex Yeung and take no further action against him."

They added: "The police investigated Yeung's case in accordance with our usual processes and in accordance with our laws."

Yesterday, Mr Chan and Mr Yeung had their passports returned. After that, Mr Yeung left for Hong Kong.

Mr Chan, who moved to Singapore in 1990 and is married to a Singaporean, declined comment when asked why he went to the Chinese Embassy. The managing director of an investment firm, Wen Way, he also runs a property consultancy firm focused on serving high net-worth clients from China.

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The Oct 11 gathering came at a time when Hong Kong was rocked by increasingly violent protests sparked by a since-withdrawn extradition Bill, but now driven by fears of an encroaching China, polarising the city.

While there have been some sympathy for the protesters' cause, the Hong Kong government has said that protesters who broke the law will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Singapore, which has close ties with Hong Kong, has kept a close watch on the situation. Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Monday that the situation in Hong Kong has reached a breaking point. He also said there are lessons to be drawn for the Republic, one of them being that a small city-state like Singapore needs to remain relevant to the world.

Mr Yeung, founder of the Wah Kee chain of restaurants, is known for his pro-establishment and pro-China views.

In a video posted on his YouTube channel, Mr Yeung - who has a following of 151,000 subscribers - said he had come to Singapore on Oct 10 to seek business opportunities. He had planned to leave on Oct 12.

The Straits Times understands it was during this trip that Mr Yeung and Mr Chan met for the first time.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2019, with the headline Hong Konger who held illegal public gathering in Singapore repatriated. Subscribe