Singapore 153rd-ranking state media Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) issued a published apology today (Feb 29) and compensated an undisclosed sum to former The Real Singapore (TRS) editor Yang Kai Heng.
On 4 March 2015, SPH’s news outlet, AsiaOne, The New Paper and Stomp published an article, titled “They own posh unit”, claiming Yang Kai Heng of cheating his friend’s money and went into hiding. Below is the defamatory paragraphs by SPH republished in full:
“A third person linked to TRS, a Malaysian who calls herself Melanie Tan, is believed to be in Australia and has not been arrested.
TNP understands that the duo are still on bail while investigations are ongoing.
They own posh unit, says S’porean student
It is about a 20-minute bus ride from Brisbane’s Central Business District.
Many residents of the apartment complex in the Australian state of Queensland are professionals.
This paper was alerted to the address of Miss Ai Takagi and Mr Robin Yang Kaiheng by Mr Joshua Chern, a fellow Singaporean student there.
Following an alleged business dispute with Mr Yang, Mr Chern hired a private investigator to track him down.
He said: “My sister met Robin in Brisbane and then he asked her to invest in ‘boboshooter’, a business selling game consoles and other gaming accessories.
“He took A$2,000 (S$2,130) from her and promised her a share in the business and that he would use the money to develop and grow the business.”
But they had a falling out and Mr Chern claimed Mr Yang began avoiding them. That was when they hired the investigator.
The investigator’s report showed the couple had registered the apartment’s address in Fairfield, a suburb in Brisbane, as their own.
The apartment is a ferry ride away from the University of Queensland campus where Mr Yang and Miss Takagi are also students.
A check with the Brisbane real estate company involved in the sale of the apartment listed Miss Takagi as the purchaser on the sales chit.
That is a document held by the developer and the agent.
An online real estate search showed the apartment was bought in December 2013 for A$355,000 (S$379,000).
The agent said: “It’s mostly well-established families who make up the more common residents. Other than that, young doctors also live in the area.
“That probably has to do with the hospitals located nearby.”
The address is also listed in a company started by the pair – Ryukun. Miss Takagi and Mr Yang started the company last May.
Mr Chern said Mr Yang had bragged about his knowledge of online business and his involvement with TRS.
He said in an e-mail: “Sometime in June 2013, Robin approached us to go into online business with him.
“He had operated online businesses previously and he seemed to know his stuff.
“Moreover, he was already telling Singaporean students that he was earning thousands a month from TRS.
“We thought he was a smart businessman.””
Two of The Real Singapore’s former editors, Yang Kai Heng and Ai Takagi, are now trapped in Singapore after leaving Brisbane Australia in Jan 2015 and they are currently facing a trial for 7 charges under the Sedition Act. Another former TRS editor Alex Tan has left Singapore for Australia in Mar 2015 and set up States Times Review after TRS was shut down on 3 May 2015 by order from the Singapore government censorship board, Media Development Authority.
The duo are likely to face jail term if convicted.
Yang Kai Heng and his fiance Ai Takagi had also paid an undisclosed sum to the SPH when the latter filed copyrights charges against them. The duo now manage a popular Japanese Ramen chain shop, Takagi Ramen, with 3 shops in Singapore. Alex Tan has also recently left States Times Review to focus on his career in Sydney Australia.