TRS case: Couple repaid S$200,000 Brisbane flat within year
Former The Real Singapore editor and husband used ad revenue to pay loan for Brisbane flat, says DPP
They took a mortgage loan of A$195,000 (S$201,400) for an apartment in Brisbane in January 2014.
In less than 12 months, former The Real Singapore (TRS) editor Ai Takagi, 23, and her husband, Yang Kaiheng, 27, had repaid about A$190,000.
They did not pay every month, but when they did, they paid sums of between A$19,000 and A$27,900.
The repayments were allegedly financed using advertising revenue generated from socio-political website TRS, which has since been shut down, a district court heard yesterday.
The couple are accused of posting seditious articles on the website to drive up traffic, and were charged with sedition in April last year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan said in his opening statement that the couple exploited racist and xenophobic fault lines through their seditious articles, some of which were allegedly fabricated, to drive up traffic to the site.
Last week, Takagi, an Australian national of Japanese descent who was eight weeks' pregnant, was sentenced to 10 months' jail for four counts of sedition after pleading guilty.
Yang,who is Singaporean, had earlier claimed trial.
Yesterday, DPP Kannan presented financial documents to the court showing that Yang and Takagi had taken up the A$195,000 mortgage loan in January 2014.
The property was listed as a Fenton Street apartment in Fairfield, a suburb in Brisbane, Australia.
He presented Takagi's bank statements that showed that amounts of between A$19,000 and A$27,900had been withdrawn from her account to pay for the mortgage between January and November 2014.
DPP Kannan pointed out that the withdrawals happened soon after Takagi received advertising revenue money - up to A$33,135 a month - from Google.
And by December 2014, more than A$190,000 of their loan was repaid.
DPP Kannan also presented a document showing that Takagi and Yang had taken up a joint home insurance policy.
Earlier yesterday, police investigation officer Roy Lim took the stand. He said Yang told the authorities during investigation interviews that he was the one who set up the TRS Facebook page but did not manage it.
Yang had also admitted to the police that he was mainly involved in getting people to advertise with TRS and handling the TRS app.
DPP Kannan said in his opening statement on March 7 that Yang claimed his involvement with TRS lasted only a month in 2012. After that, Yang claimed his involvement was fleeting and ad hoc, he added.
But DPP Kannan said the prosecution will lead evidence to show Yang's continued, sustained and intimate involvement in running every aspect of TRS.
The trial continues today.
If found guilty, Yang could be jailed up to three years and fined up to $5,000 for each charge.
About Yang's charges
Yang Kaiheng, 27, was charged in court last April and claimed trial earlier this month.
He faces seven counts of sedition. An eighth charge of failing to produce documents to the police for investigations has been stood down.
The charges are:
- An article that falsely asserted that a Filipino family caused an incident between the police and participants in last year's Thaipusam procession.
- A Facebook post with similar content.
- An article alleging that a Filipino employee had bribed a colleague to delete traces of the Filipino's misdeeds to ensure that only his countrymen were hired by the company.
- An article that "casts PRC women as home-wreckers whose main motive was 'trying to hook' Singaporean men and destroying Singaporean families in the process".
- An article that had an editor's note warning companies about hiring foreigners over Singaporeans.
- An article that claimed Filipino managers working here would give preferential treatment to subordinates of the same nationality at the expense of Singaporeans.
- Copied an article from citizen journalism website Stomp, doctoring it to include that the woman was a Chinese national and posting it on the TRS website.