Activist Jolovan Wham to be charged for organising illegal public assemblies

Activist Jolovan Wham to be charged for organising illegal public assemblies

jolovan wham mrt silent protest
Jolovan Wham (far right) and eight others participated in a silent protest on an MRT train on Jun 3. (Photo: Jolovan Wham/Facebook)

SINGAPORE: Civil activist Jolovan Wham will be charged on Wednesday (Nov 29) for organising public assemblies without a permit, vandalism and refusing to sign his statements, said the police.

The 37-year-old had organised three separate assemblies over the past year without a police permit, according to a news release issued by the police on Tuesday.

On Jul 13, Wham created a Facebook event asking the public to participate in a vigil held outside Changi Prison Complex after the execution of a Malaysian for drug trafficking.

According to the police, Wham stated in the online post that a permit had not been sought for the event, but he still went ahead with the vigil.

Sixteen other people are under investigation for their roles in organising and participating in the vigil. 

"This is not the first time Wham had organised or participated in illegal public assemblies," the police said.

In a second incident on Jun 3, Wham organised a silent protest on an MRT train with eight others without a permit. This time, Wham was protesting against Operation Spectrum, a security operation in 1987 where 22 people were detained under the Internal Security Act for allegedly plotting a Marxist conspiracy to overthrow the Government.

Investigations against the eight other people involved in the protest are still ongoing.

Wham also faces an additional charge of vandalism for pasting two sheets of A-4 paper on an MRT train panel. 

jolovan wham mrt protest signs
Jolovan Wham will also be charged with vandalism for putting up two sheets of paper on an MRT train panel during a silent protest held on Jun 3. (Photo: Jolovan Wham/Facebook)

On Nov 26 last year, Wham also organised an indoor public assembly featuring a foreign speaker, Joshua Wong, who is a Hong Kong activist and leader of the Umbrella Movement. 

According to the police, Wham was told that he needed a police permit for the assembly, but he went ahead with the event without applying for one. 

jolovan wham joshua wong
Jolovan Wham is being charged for holding a public indoor assembly with a foreign speaker, Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, without a police permit. (Photo: Jolovan Wham/Facebook)

During police investigations into the three incidents, Wham refused to sign his statement on multiple occasions, an offence under the Penal Code. 

"Wham is recalcitrant and has repeatedly shown blatant disregard for the law, especially with regard to organising or participating in illegal public assemblies," the police said. 

Anyone found guilty of organising a public assembly without a police permit can be fined up to S$5,000, while repeat offenders can be fined up to S$10,000 and jailed for up to six months.

"In Singapore, it is a criminal offence under the Public Order Act to organise or participate in a public assembly without a police permit," the police said. 

"The Speakers’ Corner, on the other hand, is an established space for Singaporeans to express their views on issues with which they are concerned. Singapore citizens can organise public assemblies at the Speaker’s Corner in accordance with the rules."

Source: CNA/aa

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