Singapore teen behind YouTube video insulting Christians to be charged

Screencap of the YouTube video by Amos Yee.
Screencap of the YouTube video by Amos Yee.

SINGAPORE, March 31 — The 16-year-old who posted a video of himself making disparaging remarks about Christians while railing against the late Lee Kuan Yew on YouTube has been arrested, and will be charged today (March 31).

Singaporean teen Amos Yee was arrested on Sunday, following reports lodged to the police by members of the public regarding the video.

He will be charged for his deliberate intention to wound the religious or racial feelings of a person, which is an offence under Section 298 of the Penal Code. Upon conviction, the offence can be punished with jail of up to three years, or with a fine, or with both.

Yee, who has a blog, will also be charged for circulating obscene material. The offence carries a punishment of a fine, or jail of up to three months, or both. The blog has been made private.

He also faces a third charge of making threatening, abusive or insulting communication that is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. This is punishable by a fine of up to S$5,000 (RM13,488).

The eight minute-long video, uploaded last Friday (March 27), shows Yee, during a tirade against Lee, making insensitive comments about Christians.

He also challenged Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to sue him. The video has since been made private.

The police said that between last Friday and Sunday (March 29), they received more than 20 reports on the video. In detailing the charges against Yee, the police did not mention Yee’ remarks against Lee.

This is not the first time Yee has been criticised for remarks made on YouTube. In 2012, Yee, who had a minor role in local filmmaker Jack Neo’s movie We Not Naughty, made fun of Chinese New Year.

In the 2012 video, he also mocked the origins of the Chinese zodiac. His mother had told The New Paper then that Yee’s video was meant as a joke.

In a statement, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Investigations & Intelligence) Tan Chye Hee said: “Police take a stern view of acts that could threaten religious harmony in Singapore.”

“Any person who uploads offensive content online with deliberate intention of wounding the religious or racial feelings of any person will be firmly dealt with in accordance with the law.” — TODAY