Singapore teen in court over anti-Lee Kuan Yew video

A Singaporean teenager arrested for posting an expletive-laden YouTube video attacking the country’s late founding leader Lee Kuan Yew and Christianity was charged Tuesday with jailable offences including hurting religious feelings. Amos Yee, a slight student, smiled and fidgeted as charges were read to him in a district court. He was released on $14,500 (SG $20,000) bail. Yee, who at 16 is old enough to be tried as an adult, was already known in the local YouTube community for humorous postings and a bit role as a child actor in a comedy movie called “We Not Naughty”. Yew has been slapped with three separate charges, including one for actions that have the “deliberate intention of wounding the religious or racial feelings of any person”.

Police take a stern view of acts that could threaten religious harmony in Singapore.

Deputy police commissioner Tan Chye Hee

Yee was also charged with putting into circulation an obscene object as well as for threatening, abusive or insulting communication under the city-state’s newly enacted Protection from Harassment Act. In an eight-minute video titled “Lee Kuan Yew is finally dead” Yee launched a scathing attack on the 91-year-old political patriarch who was cremated after a state funeral Sunday. Lee was revered by citizens for Singapore’s prosperity and social stability but also criticised by rights groups for entrenching a system that called for one dominant political party, the muzzling of the press and curbing political liberties including free speech. Some Singaporeans who openly questioned Lee’s record and scoffed at the emotional reaction of many to his death have been attacked in social media by his supporters.