Police reports filed over anti-gay post for okay to 'open fire'

Police reports have been made over a comment by a man who asked for "permission to open fire" in a post on the Facebook page of a local group opposed to an annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rally.

The comment has alarmed members of the LGBT community here, given the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando in the United States on Sunday - which left 50 dead and 53 others injured.

At least three police reports were made as of yesterday over the comment by a Bryan Lim that read: "I am a Singaporean citizen. I am a NSman. I am a father. And I swore to protect my nation. Give me the permission to open fire. I would like to see these £@€$^*s die for their causes."

The comment was made on June 4 on a post on the We Are Against Pink Dot Facebook page. The post was about foreign sponsorship of the annual LGBT rally Pink Dot, held at Hong Lim Park on June 4.

It is not clear if Mr Lim is targeting the LGBT community or those who support the gay cause.

Researcher Scott Teng, 32, made his police report online. "I think it's really in the light of the Orlando incident that makes you wonder if people here are really thinking about such violence. You just feel a bit worried," he said.

The police told The Straits Times that investigations are ongoing.

Another report was lodged by Mr Leow Yangfa, 41, executive director of LGBT counselling group Oogachaga. "Many of our clients describe our centre as a safe space for them to come and seek non-judgmental support. It is my responsibility to ensure that this sense of safety is not threatened or compromised by anyone," he said.

Pink Dot spokesman Paerin Choa told The Straits Times: "Recent horrific acts of hate underscore the discrimination that continues to be directed at the LGBT community.

" The presence of individuals who harbour such thoughts and who publicly perpetuate intolerance based on their perspectives of the world deeply saddens and concerns us."

The Straits Times has reached out to Mr Lim for comment, but he has not responded as of press time and appears to have taken down his Facebook page, as well as his original comment.

In a statement, Mr Lim's employer, Canon Singapore, said: "At Canon Singapore, we live by our philosophy of Kyosei, which we define as all people, regardless of race, religion, or culture, harmoniously living and working together for the common good. (Therefore), we do not condone violence in any form. Thus, we take this issue seriously and are looking into this matter."

Photographer Audi Khalid, 28, who shared Mr Lim's comment on Facebook, said: "I don't think people outside the community truly understand how the Orlando shooting affects the gay community as a whole."

Said Mr Leow: "Even though we have strong control over who has access to firearms in Singapore, the fact remains that certain segments of our civilian population - such as NSmen and auxiliary police officers - do have access to firearms.

"This worries me greatly, in view of the threat made by Mr Bryan Lim in his Facebook comment."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2016, with the headline 'Police reports filed over anti-gay post for okay to 'open fire''. Print Edition | Subscribe