The editors of The Real Singapore (TRS), who are already charged with seven counts of alleged sedition, today found themselves the target of more legal action, this time from Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).
SPH owns most of the newspapers in Singapore, and also several magazines.
It is suing the TRS editors, student Yang Kaiheng and his girlfriend, Ai Takagi, for allegedly infringing on its copyright by “reproducing and/or substantially reproducing SPH articles, and/or authorising their reproduction without the licence and authorisation of the company”, according to the Straits Times.
“SPH is seeking, among other things, a declaration that the defendants have infringed copyright; an injunction to restrain them; damages; alternatively an account of profits they have made by copyright infringement and payment of all sums found due,” the Straits Times reports.
The seven sedition charges which the authorities are claiming relates to articles which allegedly promoted ill will and hostility between different races or classes in Singapore between October 2013 and February this year.
An eighth charge has now been filed against them for failing to produce documents as requested by the police
On 3 May, the Media Development Authority (MDA) of Singapore suspended the licence of the editors to operate the website, and ordered the editors to shut down the website altogether and that they were not to revive the site under any other guises.
It is understood that Mr Yang returned from Australia a week ago where he had been granted leave to visit his ailing father. His father is also reported to currently be in a hospital for medical treatment after suffering a stroke on May Day in Australia.
Mr Yang and Ms Takagi were on their way to the State Court for a pre-trial conference on Monday when lawyers for SPH, from WongPartnership, served papers on them about the alleged copyright infringement.
“When served, both Takagi and Yang brushed by and did not accept the legal papers, according to a Channel NewsAsia reporter,” Channel Newsasia reported.
Meanwhile, lawyer for the two editors, Choo Zheng Xi, said he will be making representation to the Attorney General to review the charges which Mr Yang faces. This is to see if the AGC is willing to withdraw or reduce the charges.
The pair’s next pre-trial hearing for the criminal charges is on 1 July.