Serial protester back in court for alleged offences including disorderly behaviour

Yan Jun holding placards up outside Raffles Place MRT station on Feb 22, 2018.
Yan Jun holding placards up outside Raffles Place MRT station on Feb 22, 2018.PHOTO: BRIAN LEONAL

SINGAPORE - 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 on Wednesday (April 4) 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 allegedly behaved in a disorderly manner by repeatedly shouting at police 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 on Wednesday. He refused to acknowledge many of the judge's questions and remained standing while prosecution witnesses testified. 

Station Insp Juherman told the judge that he went to Raffles Place with his colleague, Inspector Siaw Kah Swee, on Feb 22 and saw Yan holding a public assembly there.

A video taken from Station Insp Juherman's body camera was played in court and it showed Yan holding a placard in each hand 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 November 2016, nine Singapore Armed Forces Terrex infantry carrier vehicles were seized by Hong Kong Customs officials. They were returned in January last year.

The other placard in Yan's possession read: "The opposition: prove yourself."

The video showed Station Insp Juherman asking Yan to leave the vicinity. The officer also tried to give him a piece of paper called a "move on direction", which contained a written warning stating 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 then 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."

They finally decided to arrest him after repeated warnings and he was taken to the Police Cantonment Complex.

Yan, who was unrepresented, also took the stand on Wednesday. When the judge asked him to testify, he replied: "My defence is police corruption."

Raising his voice, he expressed doubts about the integrity of the police officers.

The judge then 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 that he will be giving his submissions on Thursday.

Yan was sentenced to three weeks' jail and a fine of $20,000 in August last year after a trial in a district court for his previous offences. He was found guilty of four counts of taking part in a public assembly without permit and one of disorderly behaviour.

He committed his earlier offences at several places, including Raffles Place and in front of the US Embassy in Napier Road.