SINGAPORE – A Singapore court on Monday, September 21, sentenced a Filipino nurse to 4 months in prison for posting inflammatory comments on Facebook against Singaporeans and lying to police investigators.
Ello Ed Mundsel Bello, 29, a former employee of government-run Tan Tock Seng Hospital, had posted comments on Facebook in January insulting Singaporeans and calling for the takeover of the city-state by his countrymen.
State Courts Judge Siva Shanmugam sentenced Bello to 3 months in jail for sedition in relation to his Facebook posts, and another month for lying to police who investigated him following complaints from the public.
Singapore, a densely populated immigrant nation which suffered racial riots in the 1960s, uses sedition laws to clamp down on locals and foreigners found to have incited ethnic tensions.
In a Facebook post on January 2, Bello wrote: "Singaporeans are loosers (sic) in their own country, we take their jobs, their future, their women and soon we will evict all SG loosers (sic) out of their own country hahaha."
In a subsequent comment, Bello said "we will kick out all the Singaporeans and SG will be the new filipino state."
After an outcry from Singaporeans, Bello took down his posts and claimed to police investigators that his account had been hacked by an unknown person. But he eventually admitted posting the comments.
Prosecutors said Bello's misleading statements to the police aggravated his original offenses and led to "unnecessary wastage" of investigative resources.
They had sought a sentence of 5 months in prison to "send a clear message to like-minded individuals that their behaviour will not be tolerated."
Singaporeans who have written or published racist comments about other ethnic groups as well as foreigners have also been prosecuted.
The Filipino community in Singapore is estimated at more than 170,000.
About 40% of Singapore's population of 5.5 million are foreigners. The wealthy city-state depends heavily on guest workers because of its low fertility rate. – Rappler.com