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19-year-old student arrested after posting insensitive comments, threats against religious community on Instagram

SINGAPORE — The police on Monday (June 8) arrested a 19-year-old Chinese permanent resident for his suspected involvement in inciting violence and posting comments on social media with the intention of wounding religious feelings.

The police said that between June 7 and 8, 2020, they had received many reports regarding an Instagram user who had posted "insensitive comments and threats that could incite violence against a group of people”.

The police said that between June 7 and 8, 2020, they had received many reports regarding an Instagram user who had posted "insensitive comments and threats that could incite violence against a group of people”.

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SINGAPORE — The police on Monday (June 8) arrested a 19-year-old Chinese permanent resident for his suspected involvement in inciting violence and posting comments on social media with the intention of wounding religious feelings.

The police said in a statement on the same day that between June 7 and 8, they had received many reports regarding an Instagram user who had posted “insensitive comments and threats that could incite violence against a group of people”. 

“The posts also contained hate comments that could wound religious feelings,” they added. 

In nabbing the suspect, police officers from the Jurong Police Division also seized a laptop, a computer and a mobile phone. Police investigations are ongoing. 

TODAY understands that the suspect is a student at Temasek Polytechnic. 

The polytechnic had on Monday morning posted on Twitter that it is aware of and takes a very serious view of the offensive comments made by a student on social media.

It also said that the student has since taken down the posts. The polytechnic said it is investigating the incident, adding that it “will not hesitate to mete out the necessary disciplinary action”.

Among the widely circulated screenshots of the posts believed to be uploaded by the suspect, one was describing a dream where he kills members of a particular religion, and in another, he claimed to have “no problem committing genocide”. 

In yet another post, he threatened to burn religious texts such as the Bible and the Quran. 

Anyone convicted of the offence of making a document containing incitement to violence is liable to be punished with a jail term of up to five years, or a fine, or both.

For posting comments with deliberate intent to wound religious or racial feelings of any person, the maximum penalty is a jail term of up to three years, or a fine, or both.

The police reminded the public that they will not condone any acts that threaten racial and religious harmony in Singapore.

“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.”

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article stated that the accused is a Singaporean, based on the police press release. The police have clarified that he is a permanent resident. 

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Instagram social media polytechnic religious harmony violence

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