SINGAPORE — The man who allegedly held an unlawful demonstration in the Central Business District last month, asking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to resign, had tried to get a permit for a similar protest about a year ago and was rejected.
This was revealed in court proceedings on Thursday (Aug 10) as the trial of 41-year-old Yan Jun, who is in remand opened.
He was charged last month with two counts of taking part in a public assembly without a permit, which included holding two demonstrations on July 3 and 4 at Raffles Place, where he criticised Singapore’s judicial system apart from asking PM Lee to step down.
The Singaporean faces two other charges for similar offences outside the United States Embassy and the British High Commission last October and December respectively, and has one more charge of behaving in a disorderly manner by shouting at police officers through a loudhailer.
He has claimed trial for the charges.
On Thursday, the court heard that Yan had applied to the police last year for a permit to hold a demonstration, called “Protest against judicial corruption in Singapore”, to be held on March 3 the same year. It was not approved.
He was also not granted any permits for any of the four demonstrations he is accused of holding.
Assistant Superintendent of the Police (ASP) Vincent Ang, who took the stand on Thursdayafternoon, said that Yan did not even apply for a permit for them.
The prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Randeep Singh, called on six witnesses, including three officers who were at the scene when Yan was arrested at Raffles Place last month.
Footage from a body-worn police camera that was played back in court showed Yan standing near the Raffles Place MRT Station, with loudhailer in one hand and a placard displaying the words “judicial corruption in Supreme Court” in the other, calling on the Prime Minister to resign.
Yan ignored warnings from police officers and, at one point, was seen shouting at them using his loudhailer, even though they were right in front of him.
When the officers decided to arrest him, he was seen resisting in an agitated manner and kept yelling at them.
The court also heard that Yan was uncooperative during the investigation process. Two investigation officers testified that, on two occasions, Yan refused to answer questions posed to him.
Inspector Farid Abdul Aziz recounted that once, after the July 4 demonstration, Yan yelled at the officers, saying, “You know nothing”.
He was also said to have written on every page of his statement, “I wish to exercise my right to silence”, when he was asked to sign it.
Earlier court hearings had revealed that Yan was diagnosed in February this year with delusional disorder of a persecutory type, and he was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health.
In court on Thursday, Yan, who is unrepresented, constantly insisted on “my right to silence” when asked if he had any questions for the prosecution witnesses.
He said that “the court denied my right to a fair trial”.
The trial continues on Friday.
If convicted of holding a demonstration without permit, Yan could be fined up to S$5,000.
If found guilty of disorderly behaviour in a public place, he could be jailed six months, and/or fined up to S$2,000 for his first offence.