Singapore activists charged over park protest

Two activists charged with causing a "public nuisance" by holding an illegal march at a place earmarked for protests.

    Singapore activists charged over park protest
    Protesters have called for greater transparency in how the Central Provident Fund is invested by the government [EPA]

    Two Singaporean activists questioning the government's management of more than $200bn in pension funds have been charged with staging an illegal march at a venue designated for protests.

    Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, 33, and Han Hui Hui, 23, led a march on September 27 at Hong Lim Park, the only place in Singapore where protests are allowed, despite having only a permit to stage a rally at a fixed spot.

    The protest was the latest in a series they organised calling for greater transparency in how the Central Provident Fund is invested by the government. The fund had about Sg$265 billion ($208bn) under administration as of June this year, according to its website.

    Ngerng and Han can be fined up to $3,999 (Sg$5,000) if found guilty of staging a march without approval from park administrators.

    They and four others were also charged with causing a "public nuisance" by marching into another section of the park where a charity event was being held. Anyone convicted of the offence can be fined up to $799 (Sg$1,000).

    Ngerng, a former government health worker, is currently facing a separate defamation suit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for alleging that the leader misused the provident fund.

    Set up in 2000, the Speakers' Corner at Hong Lim Park is loosely based on the free-speech area of London's famous Hyde Park.

    The venue has seen a rising number of protests following a relaxing of rules in 2008.

    Two rallies against the government's immigration policy held in early last year garnered crowds of over 5,000, making them the tightly-controlled country's biggest protests in decades.

    SOURCE: AFP


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