TRS 'reader': They took my Stomp article and changed it
Investigating officer rejects defence claims that Yang Kaiheng was 'completely uninvolved' in securing advertising revenue
She was offended when she saw an elderly woman pulling down her grandson's pants and telling him to pee into a bottle on an MRT train.
With a photo of the scene taken by a friend, Ms Alevia Khoo, 19, wrote in to citizen journalism website Stomp under the alias "Jeanet".
Socio-political website The Real Singapore (TRS) later reproduced the article as a reader submission from "Jean".
But the TRS version claimed that the elderly woman and her grandson were Chinese nationals as they spoke with an accent.
In a statement tendered as evidence in court yesterday, Ms Khoo said: "(I) heard the boy and grandma speaking in Mandarin but I did not notice any particular accent."
"In 2014, when I sent this... to Stomp, I did not know of the existence of the The Real Singapore," she also wrote in her statement.
The poly student took the stand yesterday as the second witness in the sedition hearing involving TRS.
Last April, former TRS chief editor Ai Takagi and her husband, Yang Kaiheng, were charged with doctoring and posting that allegedly seditious article, along with five other inflammatory articles and a Facebook post.
Takagi, 23, an Australian national of Japanese descent who is nine weeks pregnant, was jailed for 10 months last week after pleading guilty to four counts of sedition.
Yang, 27, a Singaporean, has claimed trial. (See report, above.)
He claimed his involvement lasted only about a month in 2012 and was "fleeting and ad hoc" after that.
He also told the police that his involvement in TRS was only in getting advertising and handling the TRS app.
Yesterday, defence counsel Choo Zheng Xi cross-examined investigating officer Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Roy Lim on a series of chat logs from two Skype accounts - "able_tree" and "therealsingapore", shared by Yang and Takagi - as well as Whatsapp conversations that were tendered as evidence to the court.
Mr Choo asked DSP Lim whether he came across any conversation between Yang and advertising firm executives about advertisements on TRS in his course of investigation.
DSP Lim said there was no reference made to Yang that he could recall.
Mr Choo also pointed out one example when "able_tree" was interviewing via Skype a web developer based in India about his credentials, experience and cost of hire.
In this case, the web developer addressed "able_tree" as "Ai".
DSP Lim agreed with Mr Choo there was no documentary evidence of Yang communicating with any advertising executive.
But he disagreed with the defence counsel that Yang was completely uninvolved in securing advertising revenue for TRS, adding that it was difficult to ascertain who was indeed the one using the shared Skype accounts at each particular moment.
Mr Choo also asked DSP Lim if the chat logs of Yang's personal Skype account contained any references to TRS.
DSP Lim said there was none.
In concluding the cross-examination, the defence counsel suggested to DSP Lim: "And the objective documentary evidence that we've gone through... suggests that it's Ms Takagi who was, at all material times during the period of the seven charges in question... in charge of the website development and maintenance of TRS..."
DSP Lim replied: "It just shows... parties were communicating with a person who (identified) himself or herself as 'Ai'. This is as much as I agree with. To say that it's only attributed to Ai Takagi... then that may not be correct."
The trial continues today.
If convicted, Yang can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to three years.
This month, Yang Kaiheng, 27, claimed trial to seven counts of sedition. An eighth charge of failing to produce documents to the police for investigations has been stood down.
The sedition charges are:
- An article falsely asserting 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 his 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" .
- 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 the website Stomp, doctoring it to say that a woman was a Chinese national who allegedly had an accent, then posting it on TRS.