An Internet marketeer, Chia Choon Kat, was jailed for six months on Thursday (20 October) for his online postings containing incitements to violence.
Chia was charged with 8 counts, in which he admitted to three of them.
The 41-year-old man, admitted that he posted on a Facebook page between 2 and 5 February 2016 by using a moniker Rambo Power a link to a Yahoo news article on the death of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim, writing, “When people buay lun (Hokkien for cannot endure) already… will need to take matters into our own hands. Please reveal the identify of the 5 plain clothes officers and we go handle them ourselves. Kill them.”
He also put up on his Facebook page titled “CigButtWarriors” a post containing an incitement to violence by targeting National Environment Agency (NEA) officers and their family members on 24 January 2016.
The third charge was for posting a graphic video depicting the ritualistic killing of a pig. The five-minute video showed an “extremely brutal and gory” pig killing and a wrote a comment on the post saying “Let’s do this to NEA Cigarette Butt Officers”.
It was said that the police found out about Chia’s postings after they were alerted by a news outlet “All Singapore Stuff’ (ASS) to an article on the Facebook page on 5 February on Benjamin Lim’s suicide shortly after being released from police custody for allegedly molesting a girl.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sanjiv Vaswani told the court that investigations showed that Chian was behind the post.
Chia admitted to have sett up a Facebook page “Cigarette Butt Warriors” which contained several posts against NEA enforcement officers. He reportedly said that he did this because he had been fined some 10 years ago for throwing a cigarette butt in a drain.
DPP Sanjiv, who sought a total sentence of six months’ jail, said Chia had been engaging in an online hate campaign against NEA officers since 13 December 2015, even before the post connected with Benjamin Lim’s death.
DPP Sanjiv pointed to Chia’s escalating behaviour, which culminated in the posting of the video of the killing of the pig.
He also stated that Chia shut down his Facebook page and “Cigarette Butt Warriors” page to avoid detection shortly after the ASS posts went viral.
Alfred Dodwell, Chian’s lawyer, said that his client was remorseful and very unlikely to re-offend. He said Chian had “switched his life off” from all these social media platforms, reformed himself from his past behaviour, and is looking forward to building his life up after finishing his jail term.
An Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist had stated that Chia did not suffer from any mental illness. While private psychiatrist, Y.C. Lim, stated that Chia had a condition of “over valued ideas” which could evolve into delusions.
District Judge Crystal Ong took the chance to remind members of the public to be careful of what they post online. She said, “The line between merely venting one’s frustration and in doing so, leading to the incitement of violence can be a fine one.”
Chia, who was given six months’ jail, could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined per charge.