SingaporeFormer Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer jailed and fined for racist comments about...

Former Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer jailed and fined for racist comments about interracial couple

A former lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic who reprimanded a man of a different race for dating a Chinese women in the street last year was sentenced to five weeks in prison today (29 December). Tan Boon Lee, 61, was also fined $6,000.

He pleaded guilty last month to intentionally hurting a person’s religious or racial sensibilities and possessing a lewd video. Two other charges were also taken into consideration in sentencing.

He saw Dave Parkash, a 26-year-old Singaporean Indian man, walking with his 27-year-old Singaporean Chinese girlfriend, Jacqueline Noelle Llewelyn Ho, at Angullia Park on Orchard Road on June 5 last year.

When they crossed paths with Tan, he said, “such a disgrace, Indian man with a Chinese girl”. He also accused Mr Parkash of preying on his girlfriend.

When Mr Parkash asked Tan if he had used the word “prey” to describe Indians, Tan responded: “Ya, prey, prey, prey. It’s predatory.”

The man then posted the video on Facebook, saying he was embarrassed and hurt by being treated like this by fellow Singaporeans, and felt humiliated. The video aroused heated discussions, and the police subsequently intervened in the investigation.

Court documents stated that Tan admitted to making these remarks because he felt that inter-racial relationships were “taboo” and “predatory”.

During the investigation, the police found that there were 64 obscene videos stored on the defendant’s mobile phone, which the defendant obtained from the Internet or from friends.

District Judge Victor Yeo said that having viewed the recording of the incident, he agreed with Deputy Public Prosecutor that aggravating factors that should be taken into consideration.

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The judge added that what he found “most troubling” about Tan’s vitriol was how he insinuated that there was something wrong with being of a certain skin colour and that one race was better than another.

Intentionally hurting another’s religious or racial sensibilities can be jailed for up to three years, fined, or both.

The maximum penalty for possession of lewd videos is imprisonment for up to a year, a fine of up to $40,000, or both.

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