A Singapore youth, student of Temasek Polytechnic, was arrested on June 8 for allegedly posting comments on social media that hurt religious sentiments of a certain group and inciting violence. According to Singapore police, the 19-year-old, in his Instagram posts, allegedly claimed that he dreamt of shooting Muslims and found great satisfaction in killing brown and non-Chinese people. In his previous posts, he also made several misogynistic comments.
As the matter was an ongoing police investigation, the name of the suspect was not revealed. Police arrested the man after they received several reports of such posts with screenshots. After identifying the youth, Jurong Police Division officers arrested him and seized a laptop, a computer and a mobile phone.
"Any person who makes remarks that can cause ill-will and hostility between the different races and religions will be dealt with swiftly and firmly," the police said.
According to Section 267C of Singapore penal code, such offences, if proved, can land you in jail for up to five years besides hefty fines.
Temasek Polytechnic, on the other hand, is also investigating the matter internally and will take action depending on the findings. The school said in a statement: "TP is aware of and takes a very serious view on the offensive comments made by a student on social media. The student in question has taken down the posts. TP is investigating the incident, and will not hesitate to mete out the necessary disciplinary action."
Netizens reacted with fury and circulated his posts widely on Instagram and Twitter, alerting the police.
A user posted on Twitter: "The more I update the email the more horrifying it gets. I cannot emphasise this enough. Please talk to your Temasek Polytechnic lecturers! Arson and gun violence are not something to joke about."
Professor Lim, a member of the Media Literacy Council (MLC), said that social media should honor the racial fabric of society and posting such comments. "One also has to remember that even though you can select the degree of publicness for your posts, you need to take into account their replicability because people can capture screenshots and disseminate them elsewhere," she told the media.
Growing Incidents of Racism
This comes amid the growing incidents of racist incidents across the globe. People across the world are protesting against racism after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, an African-American, last month.
Reports also emerged that Africans were subjected to forceful Coronavirus testing and racial profiling in China. A printed sign at one of the McDonald's in Guangzhou, China, displayed "black people are not allowed to enter" while such other posts are rampant in Australia and the European countries where people of Chinese and Asian origin were harassed in Coronavirus-related racism.