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Police investigating MP Louis Ng for holding up smiley face sign supporting hawkers

SINGAPORE — Police are investigating Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng for a possible offence of public assembly without permit, after he took and posted photos of himself holding up a sign in support of hawkers last year.

Police investigating MP Louis Ng for holding up smiley face sign supporting hawkers

On June 20, 2020, Member of Parliament Louis Ng had written a post on Facebook asking Singaporeans to support their neighbourhood hawker centres as the country was exiting the circuit breaker.

SINGAPORE — The police are investigating Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng for a possible offence of public assembly without permit, after he took and posted photos of himself holding up a sign in support of hawkers last year. 

The police said in a statement on Wednesday (March 3) that they have interviewed Mr Ng, who is an MP for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency, and investigations are ongoing. 

On June 20 last year, Mr Ng had written a post on Facebook asking Singaporeans to support their neighbourhood hawker centres as the country was exiting the circuit breaker.

The post was accompanied by photographs of himself with hawkers at various stalls at Yishun Park Hawker Centre. In these photos, he was holding up a piece of paper with a smiley face and the words “Support Them”.

In February this year, socio-political website The Online Citizen questioned whether Mr Ng had obtained a public assembly permit before taking these photos, and whether he would be charged for an offence if he had not.

The website noted that civil rights activist Jolovan Wham had been charged for taking part in a public assembly without a permit after posting similar photos. 

In his photos, taken on March 28 last year, Wham was standing alone in Toa Payoh Central, holding up a piece of cardboard with a smiley face. He was demonstrating his support for an environmental youth activist, court documents said. The case is still before the courts. 

When contacted, Mr Ng referred TODAY to his comments in a Facebook post on Wednesday, in which he said he had provided his statement to the authorities.

He added that the post in June had come after one of his regular walkabouts.

“This was an especially important walkabout as we had just emerged from the circuit breaker. I was there to make sure our hawkers were doing okay. As we all know, they suffered badly during the circuit breaker,” he wrote.

“I also wanted to urge our residents to support our hawkers and held a sign indicating this and took photos together with the hawkers.”

Mr Ng noted that in January this year he had also held up a sign for a climate change video introducing the first-ever parliamentary motion on climate change. 

“To clarify, that sign was an empty piece of cardboard. The words were superimposed into the video which I posted.”

Under the Public Order Act, organising or participating in a public assembly without a police permit is illegal. Anyone convicted of public assembly without a permit may face a fine of up to S$5,000.

Related topics

Louis Ng public assembly Hawkers offence

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