SINGAPORE — A 38-year-old Singaporean man and a 30-year-old Singaporean woman are being investigated by the police after they wore t-shirts bearing a message against the death penalty during the recent Yellow Ribbon Prison Run (YRPR).
In a statement on Tuesday (17 September), the police said they are investigating the duo for offences under the Public Order Act. A person who takes part in a public assembly or procession without a police permit may face a fine of up to $3,000 for a first offence upon conviction.
The police remind the public that there are proper avenues for Singaporeans to express their views on issues such as using the Speakers’ Corner.
In a separate statement, the event’s organising committee said it became aware that the man had registered for the event with “2ND CHANCES MEANS NOT KILLING THEM” printed on his running bib instead of his name.
The committee reached out to him twice on 6 September to explain that the event, which was held last Sunday, should not be used by him to advocate a cause and asked him to exchange the bib for one bearing his name. It also explained that if he fails to do so, he would be deregistered for the run. The man refused to change his bib.
When the committee reached out to him for a third time last Friday, the man agreed to exchange his bib for one bearing his name.
On the day of the event, the man and woman turned up at the venue wearing identical t-shirts with the words “2ND CHANCES MEANS NOT KILLING THEM” printed on the front of their own t-shirts, and the words “#ANTIDEATHPENALTY” printed on the back.
The committee told the man that he would not be allowed to participate in the run if he were to wear the t-shirt. It offered to provide him with another event t-shirt so that he can join the run.
The man rejected the offer, ripped off his bib and threw it on the ground. He ran separately by himself on the public road that ran alongside the running route. The woman left the venue.
At around 8.15am, the man reached the entrance to the Changi Prison Complex and the committee informed him that he would not be allowed into the premises. He stood outside the prison, and left at around 10am.
The committee said the event has helped rally public support for ex-offenders and their commitment to turn over a new leaf. “The duo’s actions at this year’s YRPR are a disservice to offenders, ex- offenders and their families whom the Yellow Ribbon Project seeks to help,” it added.
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