Woman who made comments about race charged with public nuisance, acting against racial harmony
SINGAPORE: A woman who made offensive comments about other MRT commuters based on their race was charged on Friday (Jun 18).
Tan Beow Hiong, 57, was charged with one count of public nuisance and two counts of knowingly committing an act that is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious or racial groups and disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquility.
According to court documents, two of her charges were over the MRT incident. She was accused of "singling out other passengers in the cabin whom you thought were Malay", making derogatory remarks against them and causing annoyance to other passengers nearby.
She was also charged over allegedly maintaining a YouTube channel comprising "multiple videos alleging racism or harassment by persons of other races".
In a video titled "Malay Man Attempted to Molest Chinese Woman", Tan "repeatedly insinuated" that Malay people should not touch Chinese people, court documents stated.
In a news release on Friday, the police said they were alerted to an online post on Apr 22 at about 12.10pm.
The post showed "a woman who had allegedly made derogatory remarks on Apr 21 against a group of passengers in a train based on a presumption that they were of Malay ethnicity," they said.
In a separate post on May 11, the woman purportedly spoke loudly on a train, claiming she was not racist. The police added that she also made statement that alluded to the incident depicted in the post.
"Officers from Jurong Police Division had established the identity of the woman on Apr 23, 2021, and she had since been assisting with police investigations," said the authorities.
Tan's comments in the MRT incident were caught in a video that went viral in April.
In the video, she said "Malay, is it? Okay, no wonder," to another commuter. A male voice is then heard saying: "Racist."
Later in the video, she said she would "never mix around with you guys because you are so different".
The YouTube channel that purportedly belonged to Tan was terminated for violating the platform's harassment and cyberbullying policies.
She was also fired from her job at Knight Frank Singapore, the property agency said in a Facebook post in April.
Tan will be remanded for two weeks at the Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric evaluation. She was unrepresented and made a request for a lawyer under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. Her case is expected to be heard next on Jul 2.
If convicted, she faces up to three years' jail and a fine.