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Woman who made offensive comments about race given stern warning, charges withdrawn

Woman who made offensive comments about race given stern warning, charges withdrawn

Tan Beow Hiong outside the State Courts on July 2, 2021. (File photo: TODAY/Raj Nadarajan)

SINGAPORE: A woman who made offensive comments about other MRT commuters based on their race was given a stern warning and had her charges withdrawn, the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said on Wednesday (Dec 14).

Tan Beow Hiong was given the stern warning for public nuisance and for acts that were prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between racial groups, said an AGC spokesperson. This was done after "careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the matter", the spokesperson added.

After the stern warning was administered, the prosecution applied for a discharge amounting to an acquittal of the three charges that were brought against her in June last year. The discharge was granted by the court on Tuesday.

The AGC spokesperson said the decision took into account three reasons, among others. 

The first was that Tan was assessed to be suffering from a delusionary disorder of a "persecutory nature", which contributed significantly to her acts. This caused her to be impaired in her social judgment and "accentuated any prejudice" that she may have against others.

"Tan does not have insight into her condition. She was not willing to receive treatment under a court-ordered mandatory treatment order," said the spokesperson.

The woman was also remanded for two weeks after being charged, and this period of remand would be considered by the court in sentencing her if she had been convicted.

"The Attorney-General’s Chambers takes a serious view of words or conduct which wound the racial feelings of any person or prejudice our racial harmony and community relations. Offenders who commit such acts will be dealt with accordingly," said the spokesperson.

On Jun 18 last year, Tan was charged with one count of public nuisance and two counts of knowingly committing an act that was prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious or racial groups.

In a viral video circulating on social media last year, she was seen asking people about their race, and making derogatory remarks about other passengers.

She was also charged over allegedly maintaining a YouTube channel comprising "multiple videos alleging racism or harassment by persons of other races".

The YouTube channel was terminated for violating the platform's harassment and cyberbullying policies. 

She was fired from her job at Knight Frank Singapore, the property agency said in a Facebook post in April last year.

Source: CNA/ic(mi)


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