Serial Singaporean protester turns his back to judge during trial
Yan Jun protested what he called an ‘unfair’ trial, refusing to speak with the judge and requesting to ‘quit’ the trial
By Wong Pei Ting
A Singaporean who was jailed and fined last year for his unlawful protest outside Raffles Place MRT station was back in court for a similar offence.
On his one-day trial for an alleged unlawful protest on February 22 at Raffles Place, Yan Jun stood with his back facing District Judge Luke Tan.
He was protesting what he felt would be an “unfair” trial and even said to the judge: “You should not act as judge. You should act as actor.”
He refused to answer DJ Tan when his consent was sought during the proceedings, saying: “You can talk to the DPP (Deputy Public Prosecutor) alone… I will not cooperate with you. I am very clear.”
His request to “quit” the hearing was not granted.
Yan’s conduct was deemed “scandalous” by DPP G Kannan, who called on the accused to behave himself.
Yan, 42, faces three charges: For allegedly taking part in a public assembly without a permit, for refusing to comply with a police officer’s direction to leave the premises, and for repeatedly shouting at a police officer in a hostile manner.
Video evidence tendered in court showed him holding two placards at Raffles Place around noon on February 22.
One of the placards stated “PM Lee and Justice Chao: resign over the Terrex conspiracy!” on one side, and “Singapore’s legal system is totally corrupt” on the other. The individuals refer to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Judge Chao Hick Tin.
The other placard stated “The Opposition: Prove yourself!” on one side, and “Protest against the Hong Kong government for betraying the sovereignty of China in the armoured vehicles conspiracy!” in Chinese on the other.
At 12.05pm, two police officers served him a notice to leave the area and not return for at least 24 hours. Yan was arrested after he apparently disregarded the order in spite of two warnings.
Taking the witness stand on Wednesday, the two police officers – station inspector Juherman Zaiton and investigation officer Siaw Kah Swee – testified that Yan repeatedly challenged them to arrest him.
Yan also told them: “The police is corrupt, including you.”
Another prosecution witness, Assistant Superintendent Vincent Ang Huan Chau of the compliance management unit at the Central Police Division, said records from 2003 to March 2018 show Tan applying for a permit only once, on February 25, 2016. It was to conduct a protest outside the Istana on March 3 that year, but the application was rejected as the Istana is a prohibited area.
Yan repeated his claims in court that the police was corrupt and questioned why he was not charged with contempt of court.
He has had at least four run-ins with the law for protests in the last two years.
Last year, he was sentenced to three weeks’ jail and fined S$20,000 (US$15,216) for the March 2016 protest at Raffles Place, in which he held a placard alleging a corrupt judiciary.
On April 13, 2016, he protested at High Street Centre along North Bridge Road.
And on October 20, 2016, he protested outside the United States Embassy while out on bail. Two months later, he protested outside the British High Commission.
If convicted of contravening a direction by the police, Yan could be jailed up to 12 months and fined up to S$20,000.
For behaving in a disorderly manner, Yan could be jailed up to six months and fined up to S$2,000 (US$1,521).
And for taking part in a public assembly, he could be fined up to S$5,000 (US$3,804) or be jailed 37 days in default, as he is a repeat offender.