As notorious Singaporean blogger Amos Yee faces child pornography and grooming charges in the United States, K Shanmugam decided to pose a number of pointed questions at the 23-year-old's supporters, including the American media, international human rights groups and a small group of Singaporeans.
In a Nov. 14 Facebook post, the Minister for Law and Home Affairs wrote of the "hypocrisy" of those who had previously "championed" Yee.
Writing in reference to another social media post by lawyer and author Adrian Tan, Shanmugam noted how some had previously lauded Yee when he was jailed for wounding religious feelings in 2015 and 2016.
He cited a 2015 article from the New Yorker — which had referred to Yee as "exactly the kind of person you would one day want... maybe even running your country" — and economist Donald Low, who said that Yee possessed "all the traits that we want in our youth" as examples.
"Several others jumped in — Singapore was persecuting this brilliant young man because he exercised his rights of ‘free speech ‘. They were cheered by some in Singapore who have since kept very quiet," wrote Shanmugam.
"Not a squeak"
Noting that Yee had made "seriously derogatory remarks about Christians and Muslims", which included "using four-letter words and vulgarities to refer to Christians and Muslims and their religious beliefs", the minister said that such actions usually resulted in legal trouble in Singapore.
"Human Rights Watch said that the Singapore government had gone to 'extraordinary lengths to restrict Yee’s free expression rights'."
"What has happened now?" he added, before pointing out that since Yee has been charged in the United States, he has been banned from using social media.
"Not a squeak from his supporters."
Taking aim once again at Human Rights Watch, the New Yorker, and "the small group of Singaporeans who were vocal in using his case to run down Singapore", Shanmugam remarked: "Hypocrisy has many shades."
So far, Yee's latest run-in with the law has not caught the attention of most American media outlets, though the Chicago Sun-Times has reported on his charges.
After he was jailed in 2015 and 2016, Yee was granted asylum in the US, where he now finds himself back in court.
According to CNA, the 23-year-old faces 18 charges, including grooming, indecently soliciting a child, and possession of child pornography.
Yee is accused of exchanging nude photos with a 14-year-old girl via WhatsApp, between Feb. 1 and Jun. 30, 2019.
The girl then contacted a group of people "interested in exposing paedophiles" after her relationship with Yee fell apart.
Yee has been in remand since his arrest, with a US$1 million (S$1.35 million) bond. If found guilty, Yee could lose his asylum status and be deported back to Singapore.
Shanmugam's post in full:
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Top image from Chicago Police and K Shanmugam's Facebook page