COVID-19: Action to be taken against man who posted 'nasty' tweets insulting Indians, says Shanmugam
SINGAPORE: Action will be taken against a man who used the pseudonym "Sharon Liew" to “deliberately stoke anger" and racial tensions with “nasty posts … insulting Indians”, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Saturday (May 2).
The man used the username @SharonLiew86 on Twitter and posted tweets with derogatory terms to refer to people of South Asian descent.
The user also tweeted that amid the COVID-19 outbreak, those who sit too close to each other are Malays, Indians or foreigners, and not “true blue” Singaporeans.
“Police have investigated, found the person - a man, not a female named Sharon Liew, and the man is not Chinese,” Mr Shanmugam wrote on Facebook.
“Done deliberately to stoke anger, unhappiness, racial tensions. Action will be taken.”
In a news release on Apr 25, the police said they were investigating a 34-year-old man for “promoting enmity between different racial groups”.
The police received a report about offensive content against Indian migrant workers on Apr 18. Through investigations, CCTV footage and police cameras, the authorities identified the man on Apr 23.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the man is believed to be involved in two other cases involving offensive tweets,” the police added.
If found guilty of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of race, the man could be jailed for up to three years, fined, or both.
“At a time when we need the nation stand as one, acts that sow racial discord cannot be condoned,” said Julius Lim, assistant commissioner of police, commander of Bedok Police Division.
“We will continue to take a tough stand against those who seek to stoke community tensions in multi-racial Singapore.”
Migrant workers make up the bulk of COVID-19 cases in Singapore, with the outbreak affecting several foreign worker dormitories.
Last month, Mr Shanmugam spoke out against a forum letter published in Chinese daily questioning if foreign workers were to be blamed for the rise in cases in Singapore, pointing to their eating habits and alleged lack of personal hygiene. Mr Shanmugam later said these sentiments showed "underlying racism".