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'Threats of serious violence': Man, 21, admits making anti-Islam remarks on Instagram Stories

SINGAPORE — A 21-year-old man has admitted making offensive remarks about Islam and its community, including threats of violence, on Instagram Stories that later went viral, prompting 62 police reports.

'Threats of serious violence': Man, 21, admits making anti-Islam remarks on Instagram Stories
Sun Sicong outside the State Courts on May 6, 2022.

SINGAPORE — A 21-year-old man has admitted making offensive remarks about Islam and its community, including threats of violence, on Instagram Stories that later went viral, prompting 62 police reports.

Sun Sicong, a Singapore permanent resident, on Friday (May 6) pleaded guilty to one charge of making remarks with deliberate intention to wound religious feelings. Two unrelated charges will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

Sun was a student at Temasek Polytechnic at the time. In December last year, in response to TODAY's queries, the school stated that Sun had been suspended for two consecutive semesters following investigations it conducted in June 2020.

"(The polytechnic) does not condone any action or behaviour that incites hatred and violence. As the case is before the courts, we are unable to comment further," it added in that statement.

Investigations revealed that sometime in 2018 and 2019, Sun, originally from China, had uploaded several Instagram Stories contained offensive comments against Islam, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Senthilkumaran Sabapathy in court documents.

Instagram Stories are temporary posts on the social media platform that will automatically erase themselves 24 hours after being uploaded.

The court documents showed that Sun's Stories included statements expressing violent intentions to the Muslim community and insulting remarks over their beliefs.

In one Story, he also said that when he returned to China, Singapore’s “oppressive laws” would not apply to him and he would be free to mock those who “need a higher power to survive”.

Said DPP Senthilkumaran: “The accused thereby caused the (offensive posts), which among other things, involved threats of serious violence against Muslims, threats to burn the Quran and insults against Islamic teachings, to be seen by other users of Instagram, including Muslim users, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of Muslims.”

While no police reports were made at that time, screenshots of the stories resurfaced in June 2020. 

At that time, Sun uploaded Instagram Stories with a screenshot of a rape victim’s recounting of her ordeal, along with insensitive remarks by Sun over the matter. These posts are the subject of a separate charge to be taken into consideration in sentencing.

Instagram users were upset by the posts and referred to screenshots of Sun's earlier religiously insensitive posts when responding to him. These screenshots were shared widely online.

As a result, the police received 62 reports from members of the public including those who felt threatened and alarmed by Sun’s remarks.

In an earlier statement in December 2021, the police said Sun’s computer and hand phone were seized as part of investigations. 

His phone was found to contain pornographic material, which form the basis of the second unrelated charge taken into consideration. 

District Judge Kessler Soh called for a probation suitability report before he passes sentence on June 23.

For making remarks with deliberate intention of wounding religious or racial feelings of any person, Sun could be jailed for up to three years, fined or both.

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