Serial protester gets jail, fine after holding solo demonstration in Raffles Place in February

Yan Jun holding his solo protest at Raffles Place on Feb 22, 2018.
Yan Jun holding his solo protest at Raffles Place on Feb 22, 2018. PHOTO: BRIAN LEONAL

SINGAPORE - A serial protester, who had repeatedly held solo demonstrations in Raffles Place, was sentenced to more than six months' jail (or four months and 10 weeks) and fined $5,000 for three separate charges on Wednesday (April 11) after conducting a similar activity at the same spot this February.

After a trial, District Judge Luke Tan convicted Yan Jun last week of taking part in a public assembly without a permit on Feb 22. The Singaporean, who used to work as a research assistant, had demonstrated outside Raffles Place MRT station at around noon that day.

The Singaporean had demonstrated outside Raffles Place MRT station at around noon that day.

The judge had also found him guilty of behaving in a disorderly manner by repeatedly shouting at Station Inspector Juherman Zaiton when the police officer approached him. The court heard that Yan refused to leave the area when told to do so.

On Wednesday, the judge, who sentenced Yan to four months and 10 weeks of jail and the fine, 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 remain unabated.” 

Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan said in his submissions that Yan had displayed a placard which called for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Justice Chao Hick Tin to resign.

Yan, 42, had accused them of being involved in a purported conspiracy involving seized Singapore Armed Forces Terrex infantry carriers.

In 2016, Hong Kong authorities detained the nine carriers, claiming the company transporting them did not have the proper paperwork. They were returned in January last year.

 
 

Yan had also sent out an e-mail on Feb 19, indicating his intention to protest three days later.

The court heard that he had stated in his e-mail: "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 Yan had made "wild-eyed allegations" and added: "The e-mail reveals not a shred of coherence or semblance of proof to substantiate the allegations."

The court heard that Yan also displayed another placard with Chinese words that, when translated, meant: "Protest against the Hong Kong government for betraying the sovereignty of China in the armoured vehicles conspiracy".

The prosecution stressed that no permit had been granted for Yan's Feb 22 public assembly. 

DPP Kannan urged Judge Tan to sentence Yan to seven months’ jail and a fine of $5,000, stressing that over the last two years, he had staged seven illegal protests at places including outside the United States Embassy and the British High Commission.

He also said that the serial protester has no mental disorder and shows a high risk of re-offending.

On Wednesday, Yan told the court that he wanted the judge to mete out a “maximum sentence” of 30 months’ jail and that he would continue protesting after his release.

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

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

Yan has a pending charge of refusing to answer questions to a public servant while in the Central Police Division lock-up at around 11am on Feb 26. He had earlier told Judge Tan that he would not be pleading guilty to it.