Wednesday, October 26, 2005

17-year-old blogger pleads guilty to two charges under Sedition Act

SINGAPORE : 17-year-old private school student Gan Huai Shi has pleaded guilty to two charges of making seditious and inflammatory remarks about Muslims on the Internet.His lawyer hopes the remaining five similar charges can be taken into consideration so he can get a probation sentence instead of a jail term.Gan is the third person charged under the Sedition Act recently for making racist remarks in his blog.He made inflammatory comments about Malays and Muslims. He also called himself an "extreme racist."The defence lawyer said the main reason why Gan had such feelings of ill will towards the Malay community is because of the death of his younger brother when he was only seven years old.His month-old brother had breathing difficulties and needed to be taken to the hospital in a cab, but a Malay couple refused to let them go first despite his mother's pleas.By the time the family got to the hospital, his brother was already dead. His mother was subsequently diagnosed with post-natal depression.Gan's lawyer said as a result of the incident, he became an introvert, spending most of his time on the computer.Gan's teachers and Malay friends wrote in their testimonials he had never shown any racist tendencies toward them.One Malay friend, Ismail Kassim who Gan got to know during his part-time work, said he got along well with Gan and often discussed football together.Defence lawyer Edmond A. Pereira said: "They have all described him as a very quiet person, so none of them knew about his deep sentiments."But in front of the computer, he's a different animal. He is extremely remorseful for what he has done and wishes to say sorry to all Singaporeans."Gan is currently sitting for his 'O' levels which ends on November 22. His case will be heard again the day after that.

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