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Public Assembly in Singapore under Public Order Act


9 November 2019

On 7 November 2019, the Singapore Police Force released a statement involving Alex Yeung.

Alex Yeung, a Hong Kong resident and restaurateur, allegedly organised a talk at Kimoto Gastro bar located at The Sail@Marina Bay before moving the talk to the public area in the vicinity of The Promontory at Marina Boulevard. Currently, his passport has been impounded while he is assisting the Police with ongoing investigations.

Under the Public Order Act, it is illegal to organise or participate in a public assembly without a Police permit in Singapore. Any permit for assemblies that advocate political causes of other countries will not be granted .

Approached by South China Morning Post, Chooi Jing Yen said that it is easy to run afoul of the Public Order Act because public assembly is defined quite broadly in Singapore.

“The purpose need not even be political – the promotion of any cause will do,” he said. “The definition of ‘public place’ is arguably also wide enough to cover the bar at which the gathering started.”

“…it is uncommon for Singapore authorities to impound a visitor’s passport.” He said “it might be unfair for a foreigner, especially a tourist, to be detained in Singapore for a prolonged period of time during an investigation.”

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