Author of Nikkei Asia article about KTV COVID-19 cluster fined for having obscene videos, photos
SINGAPORE: A man was fined S$42,000 on Friday (Apr 8) for possessing more than 4,200 obscene videos and photos.
Wong Ming Jun, also known as Andy Wong, 28, had pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing obscene materials, with another eight similar charges considered for sentencing.
Wong was the author of an opinion piece in Nikkei Asia that criticised the Government's handling of KTV lounges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The piece was published in July last year, at the height of the infections linked to KTV lounges around the country. It drew a point-by-point rebuttal from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which called it "full of inaccuracies".
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam questioned Wong's motive at the time, saying: "We are left to wonder if the criminal investigation against him was the reason for his diatribe based on falsehoods; and the extent to which he was doing a political hack job."
The offences dealt with on Friday were related to Wong's membership in a Telegram chat group which he joined in November 2018.
The chat group was linked to local forum Sammy Boy Forum, where users discuss pornography and other matters of a sexual nature, said the prosecution.
Police were alerted to the chat group on Oct 24, 2019, when a woman informed them that members shared lewd and indecent photos of girls in it and that it had more than 24,000 members.
Wong was arrested in his home on Nov 6, 2019, and his laptop and mobile phone were seized.
Police found more than 4,200 obscene videos and photos spread across these devices and thumb drives.
Among them were about 2,200 obscene videos in Wong's mobile phone, which he had downloaded from the Internet.
There were also around 1,400 photos in his mobile phone, including photos that Wong took of himself, his friends and his partners.
Wong kept all these materials for his personal consumption and did not display or transmit them to others, said the prosecution.
The prosecutor sought a fine of S$42,000 to S$42,500, while the defence asked for a fine of not more than S$27,500.
The defence contended that the criminal proceedings had caused Wong mental anguish and affected his career prospects.
The court heard that Wong is now a container prime mover driver. He had identified himself as a political and business intelligence analyst in the Nikkei Asia piece.
The judge rejected this argument, making reference to an opinion piece for TODAY in which Wong described his new career as a blue-collar worker as "fulfilling and productive".
He added that any impact to Wong's career was a natural consequence of his own actions. He also disagreed that negative media coverage was a mitigating factor when deciding on sentence.
The judge agreed that Wong's offences did not warrant a jail term as he had kept the obscene materials for his own consumption.
Wong is the last of four men, all members of the Telegram chat group, to be dealt with.
His three co-accused Tan Yeow Chong, Lincoln Anthony Fernandez and Yee Wing Kay were earlier jailed and fined.