The Real Singapore duo charged with 7 counts of sedition

Ai Takagi and Yang Kaiheng with lawyer Choo Zheng Xi (image - CNA)
Ai Takagi and Yang Kaiheng with lawyer Choo Zheng Xi (image – CNA)

The couple behind socio-political website The Real Singapore (TRS) were charged today, 14 April, with seven counts of sedition and one for failing to produce documents to an officer from the Criminal Investigation Department.

26 year-old Singaporean Mr Yang Kaiheng and 22 year-old Australian Ms Ai Takagi were charged with publishing seditious articles on TRS between October 2013 and February 2015, which allegedly had a “tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different groups of people in Singapore, name, between ethnic Indians in Singapore and Philippine nationals in Singapore”.

Mr Yang and Ms Takagi were said to be jointly responsible for the creation, development, maintenance and management of content on TRS.

One of these articles, published on 4 February, claimed that an exchange between the police and members of the public during a Thaipusam procession earlier this year was sparked by a Filipino family’s complaint that the drums played during the procession upset their child.

The named contributor, who was also interviewed, later commented on another site that the involvement of a Filipino family were untrue.

Another charge was for an article titled “Exposed: Puppy Murderer Works in Healthcare Industry, Her Company Hires Mostly Foreigners”.

The article claimed that one company “hires more foreigners than locals”, and questioned if the company had “given fair consideration to Singaporeans”.

Ms Takagi was said to have falsely attributed the article to one “Farhan”.

The couple also allegedly failed to produce documents such as revenue information for advertising on the website on 26 March.

Bail of $20,000 each was offered and the pre-trial conference is scheduled for 12 May.

Under the Sedition Act, the duo are liable for a fine of up to S$5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of up to three years, or both, if convicted for the first offence. As for the charge under the penal code, they are punishable with imprisonment of a maximum of one month, or a maximum fine of S$1,500, or both.

Adapted from media reports.