Singaporean Teen Arrested For Comparing Lee Kuan Yew To Jesus In Controversial Video

Who is Amos Yee and what did he do? We answer all that here.

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Amos Yee has been found guilty and will be put under probation and counselling

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Teenage blogger Amos Yee Pang Sang was found guilty of uploading an obscene image and making remarks intending to hurt the feelings of Christians on Tuesday, after a two-day trial last week. The prosecution has called for a probation report. The 16-year-old needs counselling and probation, said the prosecution. The court, on the prosecution's request, acquitted him of a third charge which relates to the Protection from Harassment Act. It accuses him of making an online video containing offensive remarks about the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Sentencing will be on June 2, pending the outcome of the probation report. The prosecution also agreed to reduce the bail sum to $10,000, with no conditions attached. The previous bail amount was $30,000 and as part of his bail terms, Yee was not allowed to post anything online.

But as a result of Yee's conviction, the obscene image and offensive YouTube video he posted, which offended some Christians, have to be taken down.
Yee was bailed out by his parents last evening. At 6.55pm, he emerged from remand in a navy blue shirt and khaki bermudas. Smiling, he said: "I don't know if I should celebrate my release or mourn my sentence."

The prosecutors asked for a probation as the focus should be on Yee's "reintegration into society for his good and benefit"

Image via straitstimes

However, taking into account Yee's age and profile, "it is clear that neither a sentence of a fine nor a term of imprisonment would be suitable in the circumstances", said DPP Hay. "What he urgently needs is counselling and appropriate probation." Yee's lawyer Alfred Dodwell, however, said he has been "extremely cooperative" with the police and argued for a fine for both charges. He also noted that Yee has spent 18 days in remand. The lawyer initially told the judge that Yee does not want probation. But the teenager later agreed to a probation report after the judge met his mother, lawyers and the prosecution in chambers.

Asked by reporters why the prosecution wanted probation, DPP Hay said: "At 16, 17 years old, I don't think one should be holding the odium of a conviction." He said the focus should be on Yee's "reintegration into society for his good and benefit".

18 APRIL: Amos Yee's parents have refused to pay for their son's court bail

YouTuber Amos Yee will spend at least one night in remand, after the Court ordered on Friday that his police bail be turned into Court bail.

Yee allegedly flouted his initial bail conditions after he posted an appeal for funds on his blog on Tuesday.

District Judge Kessler Soh changed the $20,000 police bail Amos was on to a court bail during a late afternoon pre-trial conference (PTC), and ordered that only his parents be allowed to act as his bailors because of his age. The prosecution later asked the judge to not restrict the bailors to only his parents, and he agreed.

The judge has also set several conditions as part of the bail, including ordering Yee to take down his blog post asking the public for help in raising $30,000 for Yee's legal fees. He was also told to make his posts on the late Lee Kuan Yew and Margaret Thatcher as well as hit YouTube video on Mr. Lee private.

Amos was told to take down two Facebook posts made on April 14 along with a blogpost headlined "Donate To Help Amos Yee", through which he hoped to to raise $30,000 for legal fees. He was also required to make private his YouTube video on the late Mr Lee posted on March 27, and his blogpost showing obscene figures on March 28.

Yee also has to report to his Investigation Officer at Bedok Police Station every day at 9am as part of his new bail conditions.

The Court previously granted him a bail amount set at S$20,000 on Mar 31, under the condition that he will not post, upload or otherwise distribute any comment or content, whether directly or indirectly, to any social media or online service or website, while the current case against him is ongoing. The amount was posted, and Yee is out on bail.

31 MARCH: Father of Amos Yee apologises to Lee Hsien Loong over his son's actions while his son smiles on

Image via Rakyat Post

A Singaporean teenager arrested for posting an expletive-laden YouTube video attacking the country’s late founding leader Lee Kuan Yew and Christianity was charged on Tuesday with jailable offences including hurting religious feelings. Amos Yee, a slight student, smiled and fidgeted as charges were read to him in a district court. He was released on Sg$20,000 (RM54,000) bail.

Outside the courtroom, his teary-eyed father clasped his hands and told reporters: “I would like to take this opportunity to say very sorry to PM Lee”. His son smiled and waved to reporters as they left the court building.

30 MARCH: While the nation of Singapore griefs and gives their founding father a hero's farewell, one 17 year old by the name of Amos Yee posted a YouTube video celebrating the fact that Lee Kuan Yew has passed away. The video that criticised Lee's policies garnered over 400,000 views before it was taken down.

In the video posted last week, he celebrated Singapore's founding Prime Minister's death and criticised his political career. He also challenged Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to sue him.

In the eight-minute long video titled "Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead!", Amos says that the late "Lee Kuan Yew is a horrible person because everyone is afraid that if they say something like that, they might get into trouble." Amos compared the late Lee to Jesus Christ, by saying both figures "are both power-hungry and malicious but deceive others into thinking they are both compassionate and kind". He also said Lee's followers were "completely delusional and ignorant, and have absolutely no sound logic or knowledge about him that is grounded in reality". This was what Amos compared to Christians' knowledge of the bible and the religion's priests.

Amos added fire to the flame when he published an obscene blogpost about Lee Kuan Yew in a compromising sex position with the late Margaret Tatcher, and encouraged others to send him submissions. This post has also been removed.

Image via Amos Yee's blog

What are people saying about the video?

Generally, most Singaporeans have criticised and disliked the video. A number of police reports has also been lodged against the video.

On Sunday, one reader alerted The Straits Times to yet another police report lodged against the teenager, but this time it was regarding his posting of obscene material on his blog.

A police report has been filed against a video that a 17-year-old Amos Yee has put up on YouTube, Yahoo Singapore has learned. The report was filed by student Yuen Wei Ping.
In his statement, he stated that Amos' video "made insensitive comments against the late Mr Lee (Kuan Yew) as well as against the Christian faith".

However, there have been a small number who supports Amos' views, calling him 'brave' and 'gifted'

A screenshot of comments supporting Amos' video, submitted to Tremitus

Image via TRE

Who is Amos Yee?

Amos Yee was once a child actor in 'We Not Naughty' a film made by popular Singaporean director Jack Neo

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Yee first found fame last year through The New Paper's inaugural short film competition FiRST Film Fest, where he won both the Best Actor and Best Short Film awards for his film Jan, a controversial yet witty entry about a boy desperately trying to cajole his three friends to help a girl who has cancer. In all his videos, he speaks in a thick American accent even though he comes from a traditional Chinese family and grew up in Singapore. From there, local director Jack Neo cast him in a supporting role in his latest movie We Not Naughty, which is showing here.

In the law abiding country of Singapore, Amos is not a stranger to publishing controversial content challenging the nation's mindset. When he was 14 years old, he was widely criticised when he claimed that Chinese New Year was a holiday copied from America.

A 1min 40sec video titled Chinese New Year that he uploaded on YouTube last Sunday has enraged some netizens with its supposed disrespectful content. In the video - which has attracted more than 150,000 views - the 14-year-old gives his satirical take on how Chinese New Year came about.

Amos said in the Chinese New Year video: "Hey America has a new year and we don't have one so let's quickly copy that idea and then make it a festive season for us. "After all we've been copying America for food, cars, machines and other stuff so no harm doing it here. "Make the most creative name for the copy of the new year, we'll call it CHINESE New Year." Amos also mocked the origins of the zodiac and joked about how children should be given a one-month holiday for Chinese New Year.

Why does he have an American accent? Is he educated in an international school?

No, Amos comes from a traditional Chinese family and was brought up in Singapore. He proudly declares that he's has a "modern English" accent, rather than an Americanised one.

In all his videos, he speaks in a thick American accent even though he comes from a traditional Chinese family and grew up in Singapore.

Take one listen at his videos and you can instantly hear a heavy American accent. Even in a behind-the-scenes video of one of his Star Wars skits, the accent is still there. True enough, it lessens considerably when Amos talks to his friend, but one does get the feeling he is not faking the accent 100%, despite public opinion about how un-Singaporean he sounds like.

When we asked if he feels he is Americanised, he clears the air: “I don’t think Americanised is the right term; more of accustomed to modern English. I follow the Lee Kuan Yew mantra proudly… Singlish is not recommended. I consider myself about 5% Singaporean and decreasing rapidly.”

What has happened since he said Lee Kuan Yew is the biggest liar?

3 days after publishing the video, Amos was arrested by the Singaporean police on Sunday to assist in investigations

Amos Yee - the teenager who posted a video on YouTube in which he criticised the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, as well as made disparaging remarks about Christianity - has been arrested, Channel NewsAsia understands.

The 17-year-old teenager who made insensitive remarks about Christianity in a YouTube video against Mr Lee Kuan Yew was arrested on Sunday.

Lawyer Chia Boon Teck, who lodged one of the police reports against Yee, said: “The individual had said many things against Mr Lee and the government that are defamatory under the penal code as well as in violation of the sedition act. His utterances against Christians also amounted to a ‘deliberate intent to wound religious feelings’ under the penal code. “There is a limit to freedom of speech. If the line separating freedom and offence is crossed, the person will have to face the consequences,” he added.

While some Singaporeans laud the swift action taken by the police, there are others who view the arrest as authoritative and a suppression of freedom of speech

Martyn See, a Singaporean filmmaker foresees the clamping down of free speech unsustainable.

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For some, the lodging of police reports and subsequent arrest of Yee is a sign that the suppression of free speech during Lee’s time in power has continued as a part of governance in Singapore. Independent filmmaker Martyn See – who has seen his work banned in Singapore – told the Guardian: “The People’s Action party has only known to counter dissent by crushing it. It’s in the DNA of all authoritarian systems. “But I do not foresee this as sustainable, as its current leaders will find it hard to justify such a knuckleduster approach without the moral authority of a Lee Kuan Yew.”

While there are a few critics, thousands of Singaporeans turned up in droves to pay their last respects to Lee Kuan Yew despite the heavy downpour