TRS editor allowed to see ailing dad in Australia
YANG Kaiheng, one of the editors of socio-political website The Real Singapore (TRS), has been given the nod to return to Australia to visit his ailing father who suffered a major stroke on Friday.
But the 26-year-old has to comply with new conditions, including an additional bail amount of $40,000, on top of the previous $20,000.
He also has to give a complete itinerary and full details of where he is, and remain contactable while in Australia.
He was given permission to leave Singapore from yesterday to May 17, a day before his pre-trial conference, and must surrender his passport upon his return. Another bail condition is that he has to give an update on his 55-year-old father's condition every three days - starting from today - to his counsel, Choo Zheng Xi.
The prosecution withdrew its objection yesterday afternoon for Yang to leave the country, after it verified with the Australian hospital that Yang's father had suffered a stroke and was in intensive care.
It had argued that Yang is a flight risk as he is a permanent resident in Australia and a director of a company set up with his fiancee, who is an Australian citizen.
Yesterday afternoon, the court heard that Yang's fiancee, Ai Takagi, 22, who is a co-accused, has offered to comply with Media Development Authority's (MDA's) request to provide information on TRS' operations, such as its finances. On Sunday, MDA ordered TRS editors to shut down the website and suspended their licence to operate.
The site was also ordered to be taken offline, following the publishing of "objectionable'' material.
Yang and Takagi have been charged with seven counts of sedition and one of failing to produce documents related to TRS to a police officer. They are accused of publishing articles on TRS that were intended to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between difference classes of the population here, including Singaporeans and Filipinos, and Singaporeans and Chinese nationals.
The maximum punishment under the Sedition Act is a $5,000 fine and three years' jail on each charge.
Meanwhile, a group of bloggers called Free My Internet has asked MDA to revoke its decision to shut down TRS.
In a statement yesterday, the group said it was disappointed by the agency's move, calling it "arbitrary and unsubstantiated".
It also took issue with MDA's explanation, which noted that TRS carried articles that "sought to incite anti-foreigner sentiments in Singapore". The group said this could be taken as sub-judice as Yang and Takagi were charged last month with sedition.
THE STRAITS TIMES