Man on trial for protesting outside US Embassy in Singapore

Yan Jun had previously protested in Raffles Place in 2018. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BRIAN LEONAL

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man was put on trial on Monday morning (Jan 18) for protesting outside the US Embassy here.

Yan Jun, 45, allegedly held a one-man protest outside the embassy in Napier Road on the afternoon of Nov 2 last year.

The prosecution proceeded on one charge of taking part in a public assembly without a permit and another charge of behaving in a disorderly manner.

A third charge of refusing to answer a public servant was stood down.

Yan was placed on trial after he did not indicate his position on the charges.

He did not respond when asked by District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam for his position on trial.

In the prosecution's opening address, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai told the court Yan sent an e-mail addressed to the United States Embassy at about 4.10pm that day, declaring his intention to protest outside at 5pm.

DPP Lai said Yan showed up just before 5pm, displaying several placards.

Yan allegedly had placards claiming that the US government spied on him in Johor Baru and that Changi Prison is a slave camp, as well as demands for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to step down.

The court was told the protest lasted about 15 minutes, after which the accused went to a nearby bus stop.

He was approached by police officers at the bus stop at about 5.45pm and arrested after he acted in a disorderly manner.

A video captured by the body-worn camera of a police officer that day was played in court.

It showed officers approaching him at the bus stop and questioning him.

Yan then pulled down his mask and shouted "protest, protest against the Singapore Government, protest against the US Embassy" as he was placed under arrest.

DPP Lai told the court a psychiatric report from the Institute of Mental Health showed that Yan was cognisant of the nature and wrongfulness of his actions.

Yan had previously protested at Raffles Place in 2018. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BRIAN LEONAL

The report also said he had delusional disorder, but that there was no contributory link between this and his offences.

During the proceedings on Monday morning, Yan did not answer questions posed to him by the judge, and stood up in the dock with his back towards the court for some time before being handcuffed to the front of the dock.

He spoke up at one point saying he wanted to file a complaint against the judge and that it was his entitlement, but was ignored.

The prosecution examined witnesses, Superintendent of Police Ang Wan Theng and Station Inspector Ranjit Singh Swarant Singh, who were at the scene during Yan's arrest.

The accused was given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses, but did not do so.

Yan had previously protested in Raffles Place in 2018 and outside Istana Park in 2016.

The trial is expected to continue until Wednesday (Jan 20).

He has been offered $10,000 bail, but has remained in remand since Nov 4 last year.

If found guilty of taking part in a public procession without a valid permit, a repeat offender may be fined up to $5,000.

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