Meme of Amos Yee going to jail for criticising Lee Kuan Yew, debunked

The only thing in common for the two cases is that the judge in Siow's case also handled Amos Yee's trial back in 2015.

Sulaiman Daud | September 27, 2019, 11:31 PM

The case of 23-year-old Terence Siow Kai Yuan looks to have whipped up another round of public debate.

To briefly recap:

  • Siow is a student at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
  • He was found guilty of outraging the modesty of a woman while on an MRT train.
  • The prosecution called for a six weeks' jail sentence, but the judge instead meted out a sentence of supervised probation.
  • The judge reportedly cited Siow's propensity for reform and his academic results as an indicator of his potential to excel in life.

Siow's sentence was hotly debated online for its supposed leniency.

Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam expressed his surprise on the verdict, and said that the prosecutors have appealed against the sentence.

Facebook page All Singapore Stuff gave their take on the matter on Sep. 27.

They pointed out that the judge in Siow's case also handled Amos Yee's trial back in 2015.

And they shared this Facebook post:

The post has gone viral, with nearly 1,000 reactions and 3,500 shares as of 11 pm on Sep. 27.

What was Amos Yee actually charged with?

Despite the simplicity at face value, it's important to remember the facts of Yee's case.

Yee was found guilty in May 2015 for making offensive or wounding remarks against Christianity and another for circulating obscene imagery.

There was an image of two people having sex, with the faces of Margaret Thatcher and Lee Kuan Yew imposed.

Prosecution asked for probation, while Amos Yee's defence asked for jail

However, the prosecution asked for probation for Yee -- the same sentence given to Siow.

It was Yee's own lawyer who asked for either a fine, or two weeks in jail.

This is because Yee had spent enough days in remand to walk away freely from court if he had received a two-week jail sentence.

So what sentence did Yee actually get?

In July 2015, after repeatedly breaching bail conditions and refusing to speak to a probation officer, Yee was  charged with:

  • Distributing obscene material (Section 292 of the Penal Code).
  • Uttering words with deliberate intent to wound religious or racial feelings (Section 298 of the Penal Code).

He was found guilty and handed a sentence of four weeks in jail.

But as he had spent time in remand and his sentence was backdated, he walked free from court.

But if you're thinking that you definitely remembered Yee going to jail, you're right.

Yee did go to jail -- but in 2016.

And no, it wasn't because he insulted Lee Kuan Yew.

He was given a fine of S$2,000 and six weeks jail for eight charges:

  • Two for failing to turn up at a police station.
  • Six for intending to wound the feelings of Muslims and/or Christians.

So let's recap.

  • In 2015, Yee was handed a jail sentence, but for wounding religious feelings and distributing obscene material, not because he criticised Lee Kuan Yew.
  • Yee did not serve any time in jail for these offences.
  • In 2016, Yee was also sentenced to jail, but for reasons unrelated to Lee Kuan Yew.

And those are the facts.

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Top image adapted from All Singapore Stuff's Facebook page.