Little India Riot Rumour Monger in Facebook Fined
A legal outcome that I support and a person whom I don’t sympathise with. It is totally right and expected that people would comment on an ongoing development when there is insufficient news. On the night of the Little India Riot, radio and TV news were silent compared with social media, as social media always have the edge here as they are not expected to fact check with official sources. This rumour monger, who could not use teenage ignorance as an excuse, deliberately commented that NSF were killed during the riot despite knowing it was an untruth. Obviously an act out to stir trouble since the issue of conscripts killed harnessed xenophobic anger.
I think all would agree that the rumour monger should be prosecuted and it is the nature of the punishment and whether it fits the crime is always the debate A $5000 fine is simpler to implement compared to passing a sentence that he does community work for a certain period e.g. help out in a charity for foreign workers. I prefer the latter sentencing as it is more creative and constructive.
Man fined $5,000 for false Little India Riot posting on Facebook
By Jeanette Tan Yahoo Newsroom
A 28-year-old man was fined $5,000 on Thursday for a post on Facebook that falsely claimed three police officers and two civil defence officers died in last year’s Little India riot.
According to court documents, Desmond Lum Mun Hui posted a text status to his Facebook page on the morning after 8 December, the night the riot happened, that read, “Yesterday riot cause 3 spf and 2 cd dead.. all nsf.. haiz.. Sg..”, knowing that it was false. Here, “spf” refers to the Singapore Police Force and “cd” refers to Civil Defence, short for the Singapore Civil Defence Force. The term “nsf” is also short for full-time National Servicemen.
When his post attracted comments expressing disbelief, Lum continued to substantiate what he said by posting in follow-up comments, “Yup..not publish news [sic]” and “My fren [sic] on duty that night”. These comments, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Nim, indicated that Lum had heard the news from his friend who was on duty on the night of the riot, and that the news was yet unpublished.
A day later, another Facebook user came across Lum’s fabricated post and lodged a police report against him. Lum was then charged in court for transmitting a false message under the Telecommunications Act.
In seeking a high fine for Lum’s act, DPP Nim said the former acted “out of a misguided and immature desire to attract attention on a social media platform”. “The offender was at most reckless as to the potential mischievous consequences,” he added.
In sentencing, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim reportedly noted the fact that Lum is a first-time offender who pleaded guilty at the first possible opportunity. In a report from The Straits Times, she added that the fine imposed cannot be a mere slap on the wrist.
For his misleading Facebook status, Lum could have been fined a maximum of $10,000 or jailed for up to three years or both.