Singaporean cartoonist Leslie Chew arrested for suspected sedition

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 April, 2013, 3:01am


A Singaporean cartoonist has been arrested for suspected sedition over a satirical comic strip on his Facebook page that appeared to accuse the government of racism, his lawyer said yesterday.

Leslie Chew, 37, was released on bail following his arrest on Friday, two days after a complaint was filed about his cartoon strip that lampooned the government for being "racist" toward minority Malays, his lawyer Choo Zhengxi said. The strip was posted on Chew's "Demon-cratic Singapore" Facebook page on March 27.

"He was released on S$10,000 (HK$63,000) bail on Sunday night, and is currently being investigated under the Sedition Act," Choo said.

The cartoon depicts a politician addressing a crowd and praising the talents of expatriate Indian, Chinese and Caucasian communities.

A character in the audience asks "What, no mention of Malay talents?", to which another responds "Damn! Racist government".

A spokesman for the Attorney-General's Chambers said: "The matter is currently under police investigation."

Chew regularly posts satirical political cartoons linked to current events in Singapore on his Facebook page, which has over 21,000 followers.

I want to continue to amuse my audience. The comics are simply for laughs

His cartoon characters usually resemble local politicians, although a disclaimer on the page says it is "a totally fictional comic with entirely fictional characters based on wholly fictional events in a fictional country".

Chew said he was "surprised" that he had been picked up by the police. He intends to continue publishing cartoons while he is being investigated as police have not imposed any restrictions.

"I want to continue to amuse my audience. The comics are simply for laughs," said Chew who is unemployed and makes a living from contributions from his online readers.