AGC flags social media posts alleging racial bias in wake of Orchard Towers case

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
Chan Jia Xing speaks to media outside State Courts
Chan Jia Xing speaks to media outside State Courts on 15 October. (PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has directed the police to investigate social media posts alleging preferential treatment for certain races for possible contempt of court, in the wake of a case where an accused, who is Chinese, was given a conditional warning.

In a press release issued on Friday (16 October), AGC denied imposing sentences on offenders based on their race, calling these allegations “categorically false and baseless”.

It said that it was aware of social media posts alleging preferential treatment of accused persons involved in the death of Satheesh Noel Gobidass, 31, at Orchard Towers on 2 July last year, based on their race.

The allegations come a day after one of the accused, Chan Jiaxing, 27, was given a conditional warning for the charge of consorting with a co-accused, who had in his possession a foldable Kerambit knife on the day of Satheesh’s death.

Chan, who was initially charged with murder, had his charge reduced and was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on Thursday. On his case, AGC said that it had considered the facts and the extent of Chan’s involvement, including that he tried to stop the attack on the deceased, and his co-operation with police investigations.

“AGC directed the police to issue Chan with a 12-month conditional warning. The charge against Chan may be revived against him should he re-offend within the 12-month period,” the AGC said in the release.

Of the seven who were first charged over the incident, six – including Chan – were found not to be involved in causing the death of Satheesh, and their charges were reduced. Three of the six; Joel Tan Yun Sheng, Ang Da Yuan and Natalie Siow Yu Zhen pleaded guilty and were given imprisonment sentences, while the remaining, Tan Hong Sheng and Loo Boon Chong, have yet to be dealt with.

The only man still facing the murder charge, Tan Sen Yang, has also not been dealt with.

“Allegations of preferential treatment for different races are baseless and have the potential to disrupt racial harmony in Singapore, causing irreversible divisions in our communities,” the AGC added.

“AGC has directed the police to investigate the individuals responsible for a number of social media posts that are potentially in contempt of court. AGC will not hesitate to take action against those who fall foul of the law.”

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