Sporting a blonde delinquent hair, a plump Chinese man wearing a black jacket looked to be in his 40s arrived to outside the Singapore courtroom and slapped a pile of papers at alleged former The Real Singapore (TRS) editor Yang Kai Heng.
Surprisingly, the only photo that Singapore’s government-controlled media manage to take despite having a squad of camera-standby reporters is one of the man’s side view. It is understood the assault happened in the presence of patrolling police officers and reporters outside the courtroom. State media ChannelNewsAsia claimed that the pile of papers is a writ of summons for a civil suit, even though they did not interview the assailant or witnessed the papers themselves.
The unknown man was not arrested by the police even though the chances of him re-offending and assaulting the TRS duo is high.
27-year-old Yang Kai Heng did not plead guilty to the 7 counts of charges under the Sedition Act because he was not involved with the website’s editorial. However, the Singapore Press Holdings media have labelled him as an editor of TRS.
The prosecution claimed that Yang Kai Heng and his wife, Ai Takagi, “pocketed sums of between AU$18,718.85 to AU$53,543.94 a month” and that they “pocketed a total of A$474,594.56 in advertising revenue.” However, the advertising revenue came from Google Adsense, a legitimate advertising avenue.
The choice of the word “pocketed” seemingly suggested that the duo earned their revenue in an uncanny manner relating to misappropriation when the funds are legally channeled and not money-laundered. However, the more important question is how did the prosecution lay their hands on the figures when the duo have refused to declare their financial statements.
SPH media The New Paper claimed that Ai Takagi “doctored, fabricated and published articles that had the tendency to promote ill will among different classes of people in Singapore – just to attract Internet users to her website”, while another state media Mediacorp’s ChannelNewsAsia claimed that she “manufactured the articles”. These baseless claims are however not backed up with any evidence as the website published about 12,000 articles to date, with about 20 articles a day on average during it’s 2 year run.