Protester back in court over CBD assembly

Yan Jun was seen holding placards while addressing the lunchtime crowd outside Raffles Place MRT station on Feb 22.
Yan Jun was seen holding placards while addressing the lunchtime crowd outside Raffles Place MRT station on Feb 22.PHOTO: BRIAN LEONAL

Less than a year after he was sent to jail for offences including holding a solo demonstration in Raffles Place, a Singaporean man was back in court yesterday for allegedly conducting a similar protest at the same spot in February this year.

Yan Jun, 42, is now accused of taking part in a public assembly without a permit outside Raffles Place MRT station at around noon on Feb 22.

The court heard that when confronted, he behaved in a disorderly manner by repeatedly shouting at Station Inspector Juherman Zaiton. He is also accused of refusing to leave the area when told do so.

Yan stood in the dock with his back facing District Judge Luke Tan on the first day of the trial yesterday. He refused to acknowledge many of the judge's questions and remained standing while prosecution witnesses gave their testimonies.

Station Insp Juherman told Judge Tan he went to Raffles Place with Inspector Siaw Kah Swee, and saw Yan holding a public assembly.

A video taken from Station Insp Juherman's body camera was played in court and it showed Yan holding placards while addressing the lunchtime crowd.

One of them bore a message directed at Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Justice Chao Hick Tin. It stated: "PM Lee and Justice Chao: resign over the Terrex conspiracy!"

In 2016 Hong Kong authorities detained nine Singapore Armed Forces Terrex infantry carriers, saying the company transporting them did not have the proper paperwork.

Another placard read: "The opposition: Prove yourself."

The video showed Station Insp Juherman asking Yan to leave.

The officer also tried to give him a "move-on direction", containing a written warning that offenders who disobey the law under the Public Order Act can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000.

The document also stated that Yan had to leave the area and stay away from it for 24 hours.

He refused to take the document and the policeman was seen placing it at Yan's feet. Yan was also heard telling the officers: "It's not the first time I protest here. Arrest me."

The officers arrested him after repeated warnings and he was taken to the Police Cantonment Complex.

Yan, who was unrepresented, also took the stand yesterday.

When Judge Tan asked him to testify, he replied: "My defence is police corruption." In a raised voice, he expressed doubts about the integrity of the police officers.

Judge Tan told Yan to stop when he repeatedly failed to address the incidents connected to his current charges. Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan told the court he will be giving his submissions today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2018, with the headline 'Protester back in court over CBD assembly'. Print Edition | Subscribe