Australian blogger facing sedition charges in Singapore pleads guilty

Her Singaporean husband Yang, another editor, is still denying the charges and the trial against him will begin on Friday.

The blogger lady facing charges of sedition for publishing articles of "ill-will" among foreigners in Singapore said she wants to plead guilty while her husband, also facing similar charges, is denying the allegations and proceeding with the trial.

Ai Takagi, an Australian, and the former editor of the now defunct sociopolitical blog the Real Singapore, told the court on Monday that she intends to plead guilty to charges of sedition as well was financial matters on Tuesday.

Takagi, 23, and her husband Yang Kaiheng, 27, each face seven charges under the Sedition Act for publishing articles which "promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population of Singapore". The articles in question targeted foreigners from the Philippines, India and China.

They also face an eighth charge for failing to produce financial statements relating to the blog's advertising revenue to police investigators.

Proceedings against Yang, a Singaporean, who is still denying the charges, will begin on Friday.

Lawyers said that both the decisions are not easy to materialize. The couple's lawyer Remy Choo Zheng Xi said it was "not an easy decision" for Takagi to take responsibility for her role in running TRS.

"This was also not an easy decision for Yang to make: he wants nothing more than for his nightmare to end," Choo said.

The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) last year ordered TRS to disable access to the blog and its social media accounts, adding that "the foreign editors were responsible for several articles that sought to incite anti-foreigner sentiments in Singapore".

The MDA also said this was an "editorial strategy" to increase traffic to the blog, thus boosting advertising revenue, in an attempt to "seek profit at the expense of Singapore's public interest and national harmony".

Deputy Public Prosecutors G Kannan, Suhas Malhotra and Sheryl Janet George called the website "nothing more than a cauldron of hostility and ill-will" which allowed the couple, who married in October last year, to "profit handsomely".

If convicted of sedition, both could face up to three years' jail and a fine of S$5,000.