Singapore: Facebook user Bryan Lim charged over inciting violence against LGB, faces five years in jail


Singapore:  A man whose Facebook comment calling for violence against the local LGBT community went viral after a shooting at a popular gay club in Florida was charged in Singapore on Thursday. 

Lim, 36, who works at Canon Singapore, posted a comment on the We Are Against Pink Dot facebook page on June 4, at about 12pm: "I am a Singaporean citizen. I am an NSman. I am a father. And I swore to protect my nation. Give me the permission to open fire. I would like to see these £@€$^*s die for their causes."

The post was shared on various social media platforms following which a number of Facebook users filed police complaints against him. "This man made an open threat of violence to a specific group of Singaporeans if given the opportunity," one user, Stanley Tan wrote on the Facebook page of the Singapore Police Force. "Would this be considered an internal terrorist act?"

On 30 June Lim was charged with encouraging violence towards the LGBT community in Singapore but has stated that his comment was taken out of context. "I did not mean physical bullets nor physical death," he wrote in response. "I mean open fire in debate and remove them from Singapore domestic matters." He also deleted the offensive post and later deactivated his Facebook page.

A judge has set Lim's bail at S$10,000 ($7,398/£5,511) and his computers and phone have been seized for further investigation. The case will move forward on 4 August and if found guilty, he may be sentenced to five years in prison, fined or both. Statements against the LGBT community, especially ones promising violence are being monitored stringently following the Orlando nightclub shooting on 12 June in which 49 people were killed.

The Singapore government had earlier this month warned foreign companies not to sponsor the annual Pink Dot festival which took place on 4 June, citing that "foreign entities should not interfere in our domestic issues". Since then Human Rights Watch and other organisations have criticised the order and demanded that the government rescind it. "Singapore's demand that foreign companies stop sponsoring PinkDot encourages corporations to discriminate against LGBT people," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "This is not only reprehensible toward LGBT people, but to corporations that have pledged to eliminate bias in their corporate practices."