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Woman filmed making racist remarks on MRT train out on bail, warned against committing fresh offences

SINGAPORE — A woman captured in a viral video filming other commuters and making racist remarks on an MRT train in April was on Friday (July 2) released from remand and is out on bail.

Woman filmed making racist remarks on MRT train out on bail, warned against committing fresh offences

Tan Beow Hiong, 57, outside the State Courts on July 2, 2021.

SINGAPORE — A woman captured in a viral video filming other commuters and making racist remarks on an MRT train in April was on Friday (July 2) released from remand and is out on bail.

Tan Beow Hiong, 57, was remanded for psychiatric evaluation after being hauled to court on June 18 to face three criminal charges.

The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) has since prepared a report after its assessment, but its contents were not revealed in court.

The court heard on Friday that Tan, a Singaporean, had engaged lawyer Sng Kheng Huat and the prosecution was ready to take her plea on one charge, with her two other charges to be taken into consideration for sentencing. 

Mr Sng said that he had seen IMH’s report and needed two weeks to take Tan’s instructions on the prosecution’s offer.

He also asked, in light of IMH’s report, if the prosecution could state its position on calling for a mandatory treatment order, a community sentencing option offered to offenders suffering from mental conditions that contributed to an offence.

If the prosecution plans to do so, Mr Sng said that he might ask for the case to be transferred to the Community Court, which deals with cases suitable for community-based sentences.

The prosecution, however, did not have a reply to this on Friday.

Tan will return to court on July 30. Her bail amount was set at S$5,000.

Before releasing her, District Judge Lorraine Ho warned her against committing fresh offences.

Tan was charged on two counts under Section 298A(b) of the Penal Code. She is accused of committing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious or racial groups and that disturb public tranquility.

Court documents stated that in the viral video, she singled out other passengers in the train cabin whom she thought were Malay and made derogatory remarks against them, such as “I am not a social worker; I am not doing charity work”.

Tan was also handed one charge of committing public nuisance that caused annoyance to the public.

On May 11, Tan allegedly spoke loudly on an MRT train, claiming that she was not racist and making statements such as “We are very different” and “I don’t even talk to Chinese rank-and-file like you”.

Tan first made news when a video surfaced on social network Twitter in April before it was removed. 

It was later reposted on other social media sites. 

It shows her pointing her mobile phone camera at passengers, asking them what their race is.

Tan was also heard telling a commuter, after asking about her race, that she would “never mix around with you guys because we are so different”.

If convicted of committing acts prejudicial to racial or religious harmony, Tan could face a jail term of up to three years or a fine, or both.

If found guilty of being a public nuisance, she could also be jailed for up to three months or fined up to S$2,000, or given both penalties.

Related topics

racism social media mrt crime court public nuisance

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