Man who threw LGBTQ pride flag at Lau Pa Sat stall given conditional warning

Health food restaurant, Smol Singapore, posted an account on 18 January 2020 of a hostile homophobic patron abusing staff over a Pride flag which was displayed at the counter.
CCTV footage of the incident that occurred in January, 2021. (SCREENCAP: Smol Singapore/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — A 47-year-old man who threw a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) pride flag displayed at several workers of a Lau Pat Sat food stall and shouted at them has been given a 24-month conditional warning.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said in a written parliamentary response on Tuesday (6 July) that police did not recommend prosecution for the man as no injuries were caused.

The man also had a medical history of mental disorder "which may explain in part his actions in the case", and the incident was not protracted, Shanmugam added.

The minister was responding to a parliamentary question filed by Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai, who had asked for an update on the incident and whether further steps will be taken to deal with such incidents of abuse due to discrimination.

Shanmugam noted that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had concurred with the police's decision to issue the warning for an offence of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress under Section 3(2) of the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA).

"The government’s position is clear – harassment and abuse of any person for any reason is not condoned. The law protects LGBTQ individuals the same as everyone else," he said.

CCTV footage of the incident at Smol's outlet in Lau Pa Sat went viral in January after it was posted on social media by the health food eatery's owner.

In it, a man could be seen approaching the counter and throwing the LGBTQ pride flag at Smol's staff members. According to Smol, the man accused them of "destroying Singapore" and told them to "go to hell".

Earlier in July, police said that they are investigating a 23-year-old man who threatened to make next year's Pink Dot rally into "a gang clash” in a viral Instagram live broadcast, after a police report of the incident was filed.

The man had also claimed that he would be “the reason why LGBT would no longer exist in Singapore”.

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