The Ministry of Home Affairs is aware of the following publications that contain false allegations against the Police concerning an incident at Yishun Avenue 5 in 2021 (the “Incident”):
- Terry Xu’s (“Xu”) Facebook post on 30 April 2023 (“Xu’s FB Post”);
- The Online Citizen Asia’s (“TOCA”) article published on its website on 2 May 2023 (“TOCA Article”); and
- TOCA’s social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) on 2 May 2023 which reference the TOCA Article (“TOCA’s Social Media Posts”).
These publications contain false statements relating to the Incident.
- On 17 May 2021 at 6.43pm, the Police received a call for assistance from a member of the public, reporting that an elderly woman, who was not wearing a mask, looked lost. The Police officers who responded to the incident were concerned that the elderly
woman had lost her way and their primary aim was to render assistance to her and help her find her way home. This is very clear from the footages captured by the officers’ body worn cameras.
- In view of the COVID-19 situation at that time, and the prevailing requirements to wear a mask in public places, the Police officers had reminded the elderly woman to wear her mask. Their primary concern, however, was to help her find her way home.
- The Police did not make any misrepresentations to the family members of the elderly woman; she was indeed lost. While the elderly woman’s daughter-in-law had lodged a Police report, this was because: (a) The Online Citizen (“TOC”)
(now defunct) had released an article spreading falsehoods about the interactions of the Police officers with the elderly woman; and (b) TOC had interviewed her mother-in-law (i.e. the elderly woman) without her permission, and she was afraid
that TOC would follow her mother-in-law home or attempt to interview her mother-in-law again.
- Prior statements by the Police and the Minister for Home Affairs had accurately presented the facts in relation to the Incident.
- The Police did not withhold any evidence that would disprove their narrative or provide false evidence to the Court. All footage from the body worn cameras of the Police officers at the scene which captured their interactions with the elderly
woman were submitted to the Court.
- The High Court dismissed TOC’s appeal against the POFMA Correction Direction issued in relation to the Incident. It found that the Police officers who had approached the elderly woman believed that she had lost her way.
The allegations made by Xu and TOCA that the authorities had misrepresented the facts could lead to erosion of public trust in the Singapore Police Force.
The Minister for Home Affairs has instructed the POFMA Office to issue Correction Directions1 to Xu and TOCA in respect of Xu’s FB Post, the TOCA Article, and TOCA’s Social Media Posts. They will be required to carry a correction
notice alongside these publications.
1 A Correction Direction is a Direction issued to a person who has communicated a falsehood (i.e. the recipient) that affects the public interest. It requires the recipient to publish a correction notice, providing access to the correct facts.
The Direction does not require the recipient to take down their post or make edits to their content and does not impose criminal sanctions.