Trump-Kim summit: Journalist escorted away by police on Sentosa amid media fracas

Wong Casandra
Senior Reporter
(A heated argument broke out between Ministry of Communications and Information officials and some of the assembled journalists outside Capella on 12 June, 2018. PHOTO: Wong Casandra/Yahoo News Singapore)

CLARIFICATION: The police have clarified to say the man involved in the incident was a journalist, and not a tourist as he had claimed to authorities on scene. This story has been updated.

A member of the media was escorted away by police on Sentosa on Tuesday morning (12 June) amid a heated argument between journalists and government officials, ahead of the historic Trump-Kim Summit at the luxury Capella hotel.

About 100 journalists were stationed opposite Capella when a shuttle bus rolled up at about 8.16am, blocking their view of the hotel entrance. This occurred shortly after US President Donald Trump’s motorcade had entered the hotel.

It was at this point that a German-speaking man approached a female Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) official and told her to move the bus as it was blocking the journalists’ view of proceedings. “This is your job, you are paid to do this,” said the man repeatedly.

Tensions rose as other journalists chimed in, including ZDF cameraman Bert Schoenborn and another foreign photojournalist. Voices were raised as some other journalists heckled MCI media officers.

At one point, a female MCI officer was heard asking police to revoke the media accreditation of Schoenborn and the German-speaking man. The officer also claimed to police that he had gotten physical and touched her back.

At around 8.35am, Yahoo News Singapore observed the German-speaking man claiming that he was a tourist when he was asked for his summit press pass by a police officer.

When questioned again by the same officer to verify his identity, he claimed that he had left his passport in his hotel but could give them his “German address”.

The man also told the officer that he had travelled to the island by taxi and bus and entered the gazetted special event zone, which includes the Capella hotel. Within it, police have special powers to search individuals and their possessions and can also ask to leave the area.

He was then escorted away by the officer. It is not known if he was taken off the island.

When approached on scene, MCI officers declined to comment.

In response to Yahoo News Singapore’s queries, the police verified that no offence had been committed and that the person involved was not a tourist but a member of the media.

“The Singapore Police Force established that a commotion had occurred following the arrival of a bus which temporarily obstructed the view of the media which was at the site. Police officers attended to the incident and resolved the situation,” added the police.

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