SINGAPORE: A Filipino nurse who insulted Singaporeans online and called for the takeover of the city-state by his countrymen was charged in court Tuesday with sedition and lying to police, offences punishable by fines or jail.
Ello Ed Mundsel Bello, 28, had already been fired from his job at the government-run Tan Tock Seng Hospital in January following internal investigations into a series of social media posts which were deemed offensive.
On Tuesday he was slapped with two charges of publishing seditious statements on January 2 as well as three charges of subsequently lying to the police, a spokeswoman for the Attorney-General’s Chambers told AFP.
Charge sheets said Ello’s remarks have “the tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population of Singapore, namely, between Singaporeans and Filipinos in Singapore”.
In the first Facebook post on January 2, he 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”.
He ended the post by saying “Remember Pinoy (Filipinos) better and stronger than Stinkaporeans”.
In a subsequent comment on the same day, Ello said “we will kick out all the Singaporeans and SG will be the new filipino state”.
Ello was also charged with lying to the police on three different occasions during investigations.
He had told police officers that he was not responsible for the offending posts, and that his Facebook account had been hacked.
Under the Sedition Act, among other things, it is an offence to promote hostility between different races or classes in multiracial Singapore, which is mainly ethnic Chinese.
In a statement after Ello was charged in court, the Singapore Police Force said it “takes a stern view of acts that could threaten social harmony in Singapore”.
“Any person who posts remarks online that could cause ill-will and hostility between the different races or communities in Singapore will be firmly dealt with in accordance with the law,” it said.
Singapore clamps down hard on anyone seen to be inciting communal tensions after bloody racial riots in the 1960s.
The Filipino community in Singapore is estimated at more than 170,000.
Singaporean citizens make up just over 60 percent of the 5.4 million population, with a low fertility rate forcing the government to rely heavily on guest workers.