The police have arrested a 19-year-old Temasek Polytechnic student who made a series of offensive posts against Muslims on his Instagram account.
In a time of heightened sensitivities about race and bigotry, the student — a Singapore Permanent Resident — went on Instagram Stories sometime yesterday (June 7) to write about an alleged dream he had in which he went on a shooting spree in an office building and killed Muslims with an AR-15 assault rifle.
“NOT GONNA LIE IT FELT F***ING GREAT GUNNING DOWN ANYONE THATS RELATIVELY BROWN OR NON CHINESE LOOKING [sic],” he posted, adding sickening details such as how the victims in his dream were “begging for mercy” before they were gunned down.
“It actually feels good aiming down the sights aimlessly gunning down Muslims,” he wrote, somehow associating the act of massacring people to the rush he feels when weightlifting.
In a press release on Monday (June 8), the Singapore Police Force confirmed that several reports were lodged against him. He was arrested today for suspected involvement in inciting violence and posting comments with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings on social media.
A laptop, a computer and a mobile handphone were seized.
‘A state of fear’
The student’s stomach-churning notions were screengrabbed and reposted on Facebook by Muhd Hyqel Razali, who wrote about how tired he was seeing such posts online.
“Never thought that I would ever be in a state of fear living in Singapore just for being Muslim or ‘non-Chinese looking’” he commented.
Temasek Polytechnic confirmed on Twitter early this morning that it will not hesitate to “mete out the necessary disciplinary action”. According to a netizen, one of the student’s friends who saw the offensive posts outed him in public.
Other TP students have called for the school to expel him entirely, claiming that he has made other abusive comments on social media before.
Other Twitter users pulled up receipts of appalling social media posts he made in the past.
Comments on Hyqel’s post showcased the shock and alarm over the Instagram Stories, questioning his mental health.
Police investigations are ongoing. If convicted of the offence of making a document containing incitement to violence under Section 267C of the Penal Code, Chapter 224, the teen is liable to be punished with imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine.
The offence of posting comments with deliberate intent to wound religious or racial feelings of any person under Section 298 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224 carries an imprisonment term of up to three years, or a fine, or both.
“Any person who makes remarks that can cause ill-will and hostility between the different races and religions will be dealt with swiftly and firmly,” noted the police.
Text: Ilyas Sholihyn / AsiaOne / June 2020
Additional text: Sally Manik
Featured image: Twitter; Facebook