Tan Beow Hiong, a 59-year-old woman who was caught on video making racist comments on an MRT train in 2021, had all her charges withdrawn.
According to The Straits Times, Tan's charges were dropped after she was assessed to be suffering from a disorder where she has delusions that others intend to harm her.
In a statement, the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said on Wednesday, Dec 14, that Tan's condition significantly contributed to her acts, and the prosecution decided to give her a stern warning.
Following a pre-trial conference on Dec 13, the court has granted Tan a discharge amounting to an acquittal where she cannot be charged again for the same offences.
On Apr. 21, 2021, Tan was filmed making comments about race while riding on an MRT train.
In the video, Tan can allegedly be heard repeatedly asking commuters about their race, and when the commuter shared that he was Malay, her response was: "Malay, is it? Okay, no wonder."
She went on a rant about her academic credentials, claiming she was from Hwa Chong and Calgary, Canada, and she was "not that stupid". She even mentioned her family credentials, claiming her brother-in-law is a chief executive officer while her nephew is a lawyer.
She spoke loudly in the carriage, claiming that she was not racist.
According to the person who recorded the video, Tan whipped out her phone and started recording, counting the number of Malays in the train cabin. She said it was for the police, and the other commuters were harassing her.
After her outburst on the MRT, a YouTube channel named after Tan surfaced.
It had 29 videos uploaded to it. The first video was uploaded in December 2016.
The videos uploaded to the channel showed Tan passing unsavoury comments about strangers in public and videoing them without their knowledge and consent.
Many of the people featured in her video were Malay or Indian ethnic minorities who did not appear to have antagonised Tan.
Most of the titles accused others of harassing her, including one titled "Indian sexually harassing 56 year old Chinese lady".
Shortly after, YouTube terminated Tan's channel for violating the platform's policies.
Tan's employment details were later discovered and circulated online.
She was listed and registered as a Knight Frank Singapore salesperson and, after investigations, was terminated from the real estate company.
Acquitted for all three charges
Tan was faced with three charges in 2021.
One charge for public nuisance and two charges for conscious acts of prejudice against the maintenance of harmony between different racial groups, that likely disturbed public tranquillity.
Tan is acquitted of all three charges and has been given a stern warning for public nuisance and acts that were prejudicial to maintaining harmony between different racial groups, said the AGC.
According to AGC, the decision made by the prosecution took into account three reasons, among others:
- Tan was assessed to be suffering from a delusionary disorder of a persecutory nature, which contributed significantly to her acts. Her disorder caused her to be impaired in her social judgment and accentuated any prejudice that she may have against others.
- Tan does not have insight into her condition. She was not willing to receive treatment under a court-ordered Mandatory Treatment Order.
- Tan had been remanded for two weeks after being charged, and this period of remand would be considered by the court in sentencing her if she were convicted.
"The Attorney-General's Chambers takes a serious view of words or conduct which wound the racial feelings of any person or prejudice our racial harmony and community relations."
The AGC warns offenders who commit such acts will be dealt with accordingly.
Top photo from Al-Kisah/FB