Arrest of Amos Yee makes world news

Update 18 Oct 2020: ‘Internet troll’ Amos Yee charged with child porn
The former Singaporean national was granted asylum in the U.S. after he was jailed twice overseas as a teenager for his controversial posts

Blogger, YouTuber and all around “internet troll” Amos Yee allegedly exchanged nude photos and “thousands” of messages with a 14-year-old Texas girl while he was living in Chicago.

The 20-year-old Singaporean national, who appeared at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse Friday for solicitation and possession of child porn charges, gained international fame when he was jailed at 16 in his home country for controversial and obscene online posts he made following the death of the Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 2015. He was jailed again in 2016 for “wounding religious feelings” over his social media posts on on Christianity and Islam, according to an NPR.

Yee fled Singapore and was granted asylum in the United States after being detained at O’Hare Airport by immigration officials. He has been living in Chicago for about three years, Cook County prosecutors said.


GENEVA (4 October 2016) – “The lesson that somebody can be thrown in jail for their speech is exactly the wrong kind of message that any government should be sending to anybody, but especially to young people,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, said today.

“The criminalisation of a broad range of legitimate, even if offensive, forms of expression is not the right tool for any State to pursue legitimate aims such as tolerance and the rights of others,” the expert said following the 29 September sentencing by a Singapore court teenage blogger Amos Yee to six weeks imprisonment for “wounding religious feelings”.

In a statement issued in August, Mr. Kaye noted that the international human rights law allows only serious and extreme instances of incitement to hatred to be prohibited as criminal offences, not other forms of expression, even if they are offensive, disturbing or shocking. “Threats of criminal action and lawsuits contribute to a culture of self-censorship, and hinder the development of an open and pluralistic environment where all forms of ideas and opinions should be debated and rebutted openly,” the Special Rapporteur highlighted.

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Teen blogger Amos Yee gets 6 weeks' jail and $2,000 fine for wounding religious feelings

Amos Yee was sentenced to six weeks' jail and a $2,000 fine in total for his eight charges which include wounding Muslim and/or Christian feelings. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Fifteen months after he was given a prison sentence for intending to wound religious feelings, teenage blogger Amos Yee on Thursday (Sept 29) was again given a jail term for the same crime.

The 17-year-old was sentenced to six weeks' jail and a $2,000 fine in total for eight charges - two for failing to turn up at a police station and six for intending to wound the feelings of Muslims and/or Christians.

Principal District Judge Ong Hian Sun said Yee is not lacking in his mental capacity to make rational choices in the way he conducts himself, adding that he has the capability to do good or harm with what he does and says.

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Arrest of Amos Yee makes world news

On Sunday (29 Mar), 17-year-old Amos Yee was arrested for a video he posted that celebrated the death of Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. The 8-minute video included remarks about Christianity that some people found insensitive.

More than 20 police reports have reportedly been filed against Amos over the video as well as obscene material allegedly posted on his blog. Both the video and the blog post have since been taken down.

In a statement yesterday (30 Mar), police said Amos will face charges in court today under Section 298 of the Penal Code for utterances against Christians with “deliberate intent to wound religious feelings”. Other charges include circulating an obscene object and making threatening, abusive or insulting communication which is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Meanwhile, news of the arrest has made headlines around the world:

New York Times: Spore Arrests Teenager Over Video Critical of LKY
Free Malaysia Today: Amos Yee reaches out for help
Malaysia Chronicle: LKY's teen critic asks for DONATIONS, parents won't fund
Youth Health Mag: Spore Teen Charged For Hate Speech In YouTube
Asian Correspondent: Spore's govt-linked media misrepresents Amos
UPI: Spore police arrest teen for uploading video critical of LKY
ABC Online:Sporean teenager Amos Yee faces court, charged over anti-LKY
CNN: Spore teen charged after Lee Kuan Yew YouTube rant
BBC: Singapore arrests teen behind anti-Lee Kuan Yew rant

Australian Bcast: Spore teenager Amos Yee faces charges over anti-LKY
Bloomberg: Spore Teen Charged for Religious Comments in Anti-Lee
Independent: Teen blogger called LKY a ‘horrible person’ arrested by police
The Guardian: Spore police arrest 17-year-old over critical LKY video
New Yorker: Amos Yee: YouTube Star, Teen-Ager, Dissident
telegraph.uk: Spore teen arrested for likening late founding leader to Hitler
Radio Australia: Spore teenager Amos Yee faces charges over anti-LKY
ABC.au: Amos Yee faces court, charged over anti-LKY YouTube video
zee news: 'Good riddance Lee Kuan Yew', says Spore teen YouTube video
lybio.net: Amos Yee On Lee Kuan Yew Prime Minister Of Spore
Malaysia Sin Chew: 拍片“賀”李光耀逝世‧新加坡少年被捕
SCMP: Spore police arrest teenage activist behind anti-LKY video
CNN Indonesia: Kritik Lee Kuan Yew, Remaja Singapura Ditahan Polisi
hindustan times: Singapore arrests teenager over video critical of LKY
Free Malaysia: Look at Spore, person who criticised LKY already arrested
Jarkarta Post: Singapore teen behind anti-Lee Kuan Yew video arrested
Apple Daily HK: 李光耀逝世17歲男無懼被控 拍片鬧爆假民主真獨裁
See Hua Daily News: 短片狠批李光耀独裁 少年被捕
RFA: 举国皆醉十六岁郎独醒? 国父入土为安少年“入册”
ÉPOCA: Adolescente é preso em Cingapura por falar mal de primeiro-ministro
Libération: Amos Yee, 16 ans, arrêté pour avoir critiqué le fondateur de S
News Liputan6: Hina Lee Kuan Yew, Blogger Amos Yee Hadapi 3 Dakwaan
Phuketwan: Teen Charged Over Lee Rant
Knack.be: Zestienjarige Singaporees schoffeert premier en riskeert drie jaar cel
Vietnam news: Singapore bắt giữ thiếu niên phỉ báng ông Lý Quang Diệu

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United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty


11. For the purposes of the Rules, the following definitions should apply:

  • (a) A juvenile is every person under the age of 18. The age limit below which it should not be permitted to deprive a child of his or her liberty should be determined by law;
  • (b) The deprivation of liberty means any form of detention or imprisonment or the placement of a person in a public or private custodial setting, from which this person is not permitted to leave at will, by order of any judicial, administrative or other public authority.
12. The deprivation of liberty should be effected in conditions and circumstances which ensure respect for the human rights of juveniles. Juveniles detained in facilities should be guaranteed the benefit of meaningful activities and programmes which would serve to promote and sustain their health and self-respect, to foster their sense of responsibility and encourage those attitudes and skills that will assist them in developing their
potential as members of society.

13. Juveniles deprived of their liberty shall not for any reason related to their status be denied the civil, economic, political, social or cultural rights to which they are entitled under national or international law, and which are compatible with the deprivation of liberty.


17. Juveniles who are detained under arrest or awaiting trial ("untried") are presumed innocent and shall be treated as such. Detention before trial shall be avoided to the extent possible and limited to exceptional circumstances. Therefore, all efforts shall be made to apply alternative measures. When preventive detention is nevertheless used, juvenile courts and investigative bodies shall give the highest priority to the most expeditious processing of such cases to ensure the shortest possible duration of detention. Untried detainees should be separated from convicted juveniles.

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Singapore's arrest of a 16-year-old YouTuber is all you need to know about Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

While Singapore mourned the death of its founding father, there was one teenager who wasn't so upset. "Lee Kuan Yew is dead, finally," proclaimed 16-year-old Amos Yee. "Why has hasn’t anyone said, 'f**k yeah, the guy is dead'?"

In a YouTube video uploaded last Friday, the Singaporean teenager criticised Lee Kuan Yew (also known as LKY), who ruled the country for over three decades and passed away last week at the age of 91, and called him "a horrible person".

On his personal website, Amos also uploaded an amateur drawing of LKY having sex with Margaret Thatcher, who was one of his many admirers. "I encourage more fellow Singaporeans who have any artistic abilities [to do the same]," he wrote.

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Amos Yee: Spawn of Lee Kuan Yew's grand experiment

The other week, all eyes were on the funeral of the founder of Singapore Lee Kwan Yew, with the country’s media network practically running a 24-hour program since the start of the public viewing of his body. YouTube was full of these skits as well as postings of old videos showing Lee in action – defending his policies, deflecting criticisms, and proud about what he and his country achieved.

One example of such confident riposte was Lee’s September 2008 interview with CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria, where Lee outlined his views on his critics, the United States elections (John McCain’s odd choice of the empty-headed Sarah Palin amused the old man), and his favorite argument that Western-style (American?) democracy would not work in a place like Singapore. Zakaria was practically drooling in his mouth as he listened to Lee.

But shortly after the news of Lee’s death was announced to the world, in came another Singaporean, Amos Yee, who posted a video on YouTube titled “Lee Kuan Yew is Finally Dead!” In that March 29 video, the 17-year-old Yee gave the opposite description of Lee and Singapore: a narcissistic despot destroying any opposition to his autocratic rule, the country having one of the highest inequality rates in terms of incomes, and the gross discrepancy between the salaries of high officials vis-à-vis the ordinary grunt, and the creation of a society that is not only apolitical but also lacking in imagination.

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Amos Yee: YouTube Star, Teen-Ager, Dissident
Amos Yee, right, arrives with his father at the Singapore state court

The most winsome political dissident you’ve never heard of, Amos Yee, is a Singaporean, a YouTube personality, and an activist who takes his cause more seriously than he takes himself. He has hair like a haystack in late afternoon and the nervous timing of a standup nebbish. He curses as imaginatively as a Scotsman in an Iannucci script, and, despite his perfect vision, he wears glasses on camera, for style. He’s a humanist—a close student of street idiom and indie film—but he has a data wonk’s appreciation for comparative statistics and a wariness of received wisdom. On concerns such as gay rights, income inequality, and free speech, he’s outspoken on the right side of history. He is seventeen years old.

He is also, in his home of Singapore, an alleged criminal for what he’s said. On Friday, March 27th, Yee uploaded a video that criticized Lee Kuan Yew, the recently deceased founding father of postwar Singapore, and also took a swipe at organized Christianity. By the following Monday, after formal complaints from some fellow Singaporeans, Yee had been arrested under Section 298 of the country’s penal code, which forbids the uttering of words that might hurt the religious feelings of any person, and the Protection from Harassment Act, a recent law ostensibly set up to guard against cyberbullying. His blog, where he had posted an illustration of Lee and Margaret Thatcher in flagrante, was censored; it earned Yee an obscenity charge under Penal Code Section 292. He was released on a bail of twenty thousand Singapore dollars, and is currently awaiting hearings. He has been ordered not to post anything more online. If he’s found guilty, he could face a fine of five thousand Singapore dollars and three years in prison.

Previously, Yee’s targets had been overly pliant citizens, religious hypocrisy, governmental agitprop, and parents. His smart-alecky YouTube videos, which he began releasing a couple of years ago, were directed equally toward the Singaporean youth and a more international, American-style audience. It is easy to lose a lunch hour in such homemade productions as his exposition of Singaporean English and his review of “The Da Vinci Code.” Yee’s style is both manic and concinnate, confident and strangely self-aware. If most teen-agers deploy sarcasm and snark, he has a sense of higher-order irony—a pearl-like virtue in a society that tends to disdain intellectual risk.

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Amos Yee lauded by The New Yorker as a modern-day Voltaire, ‘cinematic prodigy’

In a piece out on April 10, 2015, “Amos Yee: YouTube Star, Teen-Ager, Dissident“, written by Nathan Heller, the uber highbrow mag was not short of effusive praise for the newest enfant terrible in Singapore, who has been arrested and charged for hurting some people’s feelings with a YouTube video he made.

This is what he wrote:
  • Yee’s arrest doesn’t just underscore his complaints about Singapore’s backwardness on rights and freedom. It shows the country’s dire need for cultural education through intelligent dissent.
  • The citizens of developed nations in the twenty-first century should not need to be told that free expression is a basic attribute of political health. It’s part of Yee’s precocity to realize that a population molded into sheeplike complaisance is ideologically vulnerable. If his opinions sometimes tend toward the extremes (in a more recent video, he urges young people to drop out of school, the better not to, you know, go to learn the words of fools), his goal seems to be to unsettle the existing Singaporean power structure enough that young people have no choice but to broaden their expectations. His flamboyant thought and language is part of the best tradition of dissension, from Voltaire to the Velvet Revolution, and it accrues to creative fields beyond politics. Yee is something of a cinematic prodigy, having snagged two top prizes in a Singaporean festival for a hilarious short he made at thirteen, in his bedroom.
  • If anything, Yee has all the hallmarks of a green and thriving mind; he is exactly the kind of person you would one day want reviewing your books, making your movies, maybe even running your country. Americans, who enjoy the benefits of free media, have a responsibility to take him more seriously than they take the government that has tried to quiet him for thinking freely in the public sphere. And those of us in the Fourth Estate have a duty to spread word of his ridiculous charges. If people like Amos Yee end up the custodians of our profession, the future of countries like Singapore can be brighter than their past.
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Dear Amos,
The timing, to get maximum impact, was of course no accident either. More than a million views and unprecedented media coverage makes that abundantly clear.

Dear parents of Amos,
And even if Amos still may have a million or two detractors in Singapore, be not in doubt who the world sympathizes with. A Google news search indicates there are now more than 2000 news articles about your son worldwide. Maybe 200 of them are from Singapore and the rest are from the international media. And while the Lee family has used every trick in the book to try to portray Amos as a villain in the state controlled media, the international media’s sympathy lies with Amos. In autocratic regime v. 16 year old vlogger, the sympathy of the international media and public opinion will always be with the latter. So, even if Amos may have a couple of million detractors in Singapore, he has tens of millions supporters outside Singapore.

To Mr. Lee Jr,
As Amos' parents, must you be scared. How terrifying it must be to see that a 16 year old boy's 8 minute video ripping your father apart resonates so well with your populace. You have held no punches in order to stop this boy. The police and judiciary are on your side, you have crucified him in the media and he has been given a gagging order. But to what effect? The only result is that the whole world has heard his message too. I assume one of your advisors have informed you about the Streisand effect by now. Well, you have learned it the hard way.

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Famous Amos
– Tots of Cynical Investor: Talk is cheap,very cheap Harry needs no monument
– Desparatebeep: Fighting is OK provided the other guy doesn’t hit back
– Blogging for Myself: Don’t ignore Amos Yee
– Boston Experience: How will the Amos Case affect the Singapore brand?
– My Singapore News: Amos Yee: It is happening – The flutter of a butterfly
– 否极泰来 Piji Tailai: The Yees Strategy Caught Spore (Authority) By Surprise?
– LowKayHwa: 5 plausible reasons Amos chose to eat banana as he turn up
– TOC: “Police report” button to tackle offensive speech
– TRE:  Appeal to Children Agencies to Denounce Political Persecution of Amos
– TOC: What is Amos Yee’s problem? Ours, actually.
– Top of the Word: Amos Yee: Singapore can do without his kind of free speech
– Rachel Zeng’s Blog: “Evil Western Values”
– Likedatosocanmeh: Thank you Amos Yee
– Singapore Notes: The Teen Brain: A Hazard or a Virtue?
– Alvinology: Is it possible to look cool on camera eating a banana?
– [FB] Alfian Sa’at: To the 20 plus who made police reports against Amos Yee - See more at: http://singaporedaily.net/2015/04/20/daily-sg-20-apr-2015/#sthash.IEOOIV4v.dpuf
– Free Malaysia Today: The wannabe intellectual that is Amos Yee 
– Singapore Notes: A Mother’s Pain
– Letters From Bukit Batok: Thank You, Nathan Heller
– Sg GE 2016: Amos Yee – More Trouble-maker Than Innocent Youth
– Speaking My Mind: Reply to Belmont Lay of Mothership.sg
– The New Yorker: Amos Yee: YouTube Star, Teen-Ager, Dissident
– The Rappler: Amos Yee: Spawn of Lee Kuan Yew’s grand experiment
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: The New Yorker’s article about Amos Yee
– Mothership: Amos lauded as a modern-day Voltaire, ‘cinematic prodigy’
– RunEatGossip: Crime and Punishment
– SgGE 2016: Amos Yee – SDP’s Sacrificial Pawn
– Yauming: The guns of Spore are pointed the wrong way: Amos Yee
– Redwire Times: Amos Yee is Not a Martyr, He’s a Rapist who Violated
– TRS: Amos Yee: Spawn of Lee Kuan Yew's grand experiment

– Blogging for Myself: Best to just ignore Amos Yee
– The Heart Truths: On Freedom of Speech and Inequality in Singapore
– Kirsten Han: Freedom of speech Spore: a matter of security, or of trust?
– Popspoken: If Not Now, Amos “May Be Arrested For Worse Things In Future”

– Ryan Goh: Life through these eyes: Those supporting Amos got it so wrong
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: Can you blame Amos's parents for what happened?
– Five Stars and a Moon: Here’s why I think Amos Yee is being used.
– My Two ‘Sense’ Worth: Criticism VS Opinions
– Pamela Lim: When Amos stirs a thought

– Free Malaysia Today: The martyrdom of young Amos Yee
– Asian Correspondent: Critics missing point, problem lies with hate speech law
– Colin and Yen Yen: Merde, Je Suis Amos
– Moto Chan: (in)Famous Amos
– Everything Also Complain: Amos charged under Protection from Harassment Act
– Kaffein-nated: It’s never been about Christianity, it never did
– My Singapore News: Amos Yee – The charges
– Likedatosocanmeh: Wasn’t PM Lee as disrespectful as Amos Yee?
– Asian Parent: Amos arrested over anti-LKY video:Watch what your child says!
– Alfian Sa’at: “Sigh. That Amos Yee boy…”
– TOC: The storm Amos Yee raised and why it is clouding our judgement
– Popspoken: “Shame on you”: What the Amos Situation Says about S'poreans
– ASS: Pls Stop Praising, He is Suffering From Narcissistic Personality Disorder
– Bertha Harian: We made Amos Famous
– Alvinology: Olive branch for Amos Yee and his parents?
– Anyhow Hantam: Did the AGC Act Too Hastily in Charging Amos Immediately?
– Tots of Cynical Investor: Ello, Ello! FTs bully, beat S’poreans with impunity?
– Letters From Bukit Batok: Angry Young Man
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: What the arrest of Amos Yee tells us about Spore
– Lukeyishandsome: 20 Random Thoughts #310315: Amos Yee, Who Is He?
– Singaporean Kiddo: Amos Yee, where were you in 1965?
– Benjamin Crackers: In Defense of Amos Yee
– My Little Corner: Truth behind famous Amos?
– A collection of thoughts: Why the anger of today’s youth?
– Paradite: Quick thoughts on Amos Yee
– Singapore Notes: Horrible News
– DanielGoh: News from masses’ respect for LKY to Yee’s massive disrespect?
– Grace Teng: “Amos Yee: he is an idiot”
– Roy Ngerng Yi Ling: “I am honestly shocked by the amount of violence”
– Asian Correspondent: 17-year-old to face charges: Where Amos went wrong
– Inspiration: Amos Yee
– Molitics: A Legacy of Hyperlegalism?
– My Singapore News: Amos Yee – How sick can we be?
– The Singapore Beacon: WTF Of The Day! – Famous Amos Yee
– Five Stars and a Moon: Loudmouth Youth Amos Yee Arrested
– Covered in his blood: Almost Amos
– Sg Dissident: Latest victim of LKY’s dictatorship. Silencing right to free speech
– Smithankyou: Amos Vs Dr. Jia Jia? Safer Internet?
– TRS: This PAP Grassroots Leader said Amos Yee’s D*ck Should be Cut Off
– Singapore Notes: Je Suis Amos
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: Should Amos be arrested for his Youtube video?
– New Nation: S’poreans risk letting LKY down after only 15 police reports made

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