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Activist Gilbert Goh to contest charges of illegal protest, refusal to sign police statement

SINGAPORE — Activist Gilbert Goh Keow Wah was on Wednesday (Dec 15) charged with taking part in a public assembly without a permit and refusing to sign a police statement earlier this year.

Gilbert Goh arriving at the State Courts on Dec 15, 2021.
Gilbert Goh arriving at the State Courts on Dec 15, 2021.
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SINGAPORE — Activist Gilbert Goh Keow Wah was on Wednesday (Dec 15) charged with taking part in a public assembly without a permit and refusing to sign a police statement earlier this year.

Goh, 60, told the court that he planned to contest the charges. 

He is accused of staging a protest near the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority building in the vicinity of Lavender MRT Station on the morning of May 1.

Court documents stated that he allegedly took part in a public assembly so as to publicise a cause to persuade the Government to ban all flights from India.

Organising or taking part in a public assembly requires a police permit in Singapore, but Goh did not have one, the police said previously.

He had held up a placard that read in capital letters: “Please ban all flights from India we are not racist! Just being cautious." He then posted a photo of this on his Facebook page.

His alleged protest happened soon after the Government barred some visitors from India from entering Singapore in response to a surge in Covid-19 cases there.

After the authorities began investigating him, he was said to have refused to sign a police statement he made at the Bedok Police Division headquarters on May 11.

On Wednesday morning, Goh turned up at the State Courts to be charged.

After a police prosecutor said that they were ready to proceed with the case, Goh said that he intended to contest the charges and was in the process of hiring a lawyer. 

District Judge Lorraine Ho offered him bail of S$5,000. He will return to court on Jan 7 next year.

If convicted of taking part in a public assembly without a permit under the Public Order Act, he could be fined up to S$3,000.

Those convicted of refusing to sign a police statement could receive a jail term of up to three months or a fine of up to S$2,500, or both.

In a press statement on Tuesday, the police said that Goh also allowed a foreigner without the required permit to take part in an event that he organised at the Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park on Nov 3, 2019.

A police permit is needed if foreigners are involved in organising or taking part in an event at the Speakers’ Corner.

Goh received a stern warning over the 2019 incident, which also included failing to sign a police statement, the police said.

Related topics

court crime public assembly Gilbert Goh protest

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