SINGAPORE: Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said on Wednesday (Mar 27) that while he laughed off an online threat to throw an egg at him, the police could not and had to interview the man.
A police report was lodged on Mar 19 against 20-year-old full-time National Serviceman Edmund Zhong who had left a comment on a Facebook post “suggesting that he wanted to throw an egg” at the minister, police had said.
A 47-year-old netizen who responded to the comment to provide information on the Minister’s upcoming meet-the-people session was also asked to assist the police with investigations for the offence of communicating an electronic record to incite violence under Section 267C of the Penal Code.
"There have been some media articles on Edmund Zhong and his threat to throw eggs," Mr Shanmugam said in his Facebook post on Wednesday.
"When I was told about it, I laughed it off - the somewhat exaggerated words of a young man.
"I was then told about some of his background, and that he would be interviewed to establish that he is not actually going to take any action."
Mr Shanmugam added: "I understood police’s concerns. I can laugh off these comments, but understandably, police can't."
Mr Shanmugam also said in his post that he was "much more concerned" about Mr Zhong's Facebook comments on his attitude to drugs.
"I hope he does not actually experiment further with cannabis, regardless of how desirable he thinks drugs are," said the Minister.
Mr Zhong describes himself as a "cannabis advocate" on Facebook and his page has a number of recent posts supporting the use of marijuana.
"A Friend with weed is a Friend indeed," read one Mar 11 post.
Mr Zhong's egg comment was made on a Channel NewsAsia Facebook post related to the controversy surrounding a statement made by Australian senator Fraser Anning in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque massacre.
Mr Anning had blamed the mosque attacks in New Zealand on Muslim immigration, which subsequently drew international condemnation, including by Mr Shanmugam who described Mr Anning's comments as "sickening" and "unacceptable".
The Australian senator was further thrust into the spotlight after a video showing him being hit on the head with an egg went viral. The clip also showed him punching the teenager - subsequently dubbed Egg Boy - who hit him.
Mr Zhong had commented on a post about the senator: "I wanna do that to K Shanmugam. I swear."
He told Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday: "And yes once again, the egg remark was just a joke. If I were to do it, I wouldn’t even have said it. Common sense?"
On Mr Shanmugam's remarks about his attitude to drugs, Mr Zhong said that he wants to "educate" people about cannabis.
"My role is to simply be the voice for like-minded cannabis enthusiasts but are afraid to speak up," adding that he was advocating its medicinal properties.
While some countries around the world have legalised the use of medical marijuana, Singapore maintains a strict stance against such drugs.
"To date, there are no studies which have validated the claims of unprocessed or raw cannabis being able to treat medical conditions," the authorities said last month in a statement setting out its position.