Raffles Place protester gets jail and fine

Yan Jun, who held a protest at Raffles Place on Feb 22, was yesterday sentenced to a total of six months and two weeks' jail and fined $5,000.
Yan Jun, who held a protest at Raffles Place on Feb 22, was yesterday sentenced to a total of six months and two weeks' jail and fined $5,000.PHOTO: BRIAN LEONAL

A Singaporean who held a one-man protest at Raffles Place was yesterday sentenced to a total jail term of six months and two weeks and fined $5,000.

Yan Jun, who used to work as a research assistant, was found guilty of three charges after a trial before District Judge Luke Tan last week.

One was for taking part in a public assembly without a permit outside Raffles Place MRT station at around noon on Feb 22. He was also found guilty of behaving in a disorderly manner for shouting at a police inspector and of refusing to leave the area despite being told to do so.

In sentencing Yan yesterday, Judge Tan said: " The accused has apparently shown no remorse whatsoever from the time of his offences, till he was brought to court, and even while his trial was conducted. His abhorrent behaviour has continued, and his disrespect towards persons and institutions of authority has remained unabated."

Yan was given four months' jail for disorderly behaviour, another 10 weeks' jail for refusing to leave the area, and fined $5,000 for holding a public assembly without a permit.

Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan said in his submissions that one of the placards Yan was holding called for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Justice Chao Hick Tin to resign over the Terrex detention incident.

In 2016, nine Singapore Armed Forces Terrex infantry carriers were detained by the Hong Kong authorities, which said the company transporting the vehicles did not have the proper paperwork.

In an e-mail that Yan sent out on Feb 19, he claimed that the "Terrex detention issue is a carefully laid trap by the PAP (People's Action Party) Government to embarrass China by exposing to the world Singapore's military cooperation with Taiwan and by violating China's sovereignty".

DPP Kannan said that these were "wild-eyed allegations", adding: "The e-mail reveals not a shred of coherence or semblance of proof to substantiate the allegations."

The prosecution also said the Feb 22 public assembly was illegal as Yan had not applied for a permit.

In urging the court to sentence Yan to seven months' jail and to impose a $5,000 fine, DPP Kannan stressed that the 42-year-old had staged seven illegal protests in the past two years.

For behaving in a disorderly manner and for refusing to leave Raffles Place, Yan could have been jailed for up to a year on each charge.

The maximum sentence for taking part in a public assembly without a permit is a fine of $5,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'Raffles Place protester gets jail and fine'. Print Edition | Subscribe