Dr Chee Soon Juan was at Raffles City
Shopping Centre to sell his book Democratically Speaking yesterday
when security personnel stopped him because they said that the area
was private property belonging to CapitaLand.
Dr Chee was surprised as he, together
with other SDP activists, was charged for assembly in a public place
without a permit in 2006 at the same spot.
He told the security guards that if the
area was indeed private property, he would stop his sales but he
needed to be sure.
He then called the police to ask them
to help verify if the area was private property. When the
police arrived, Dr Chee explained the situation and asked them to
ascertain the veracity of Raffles City personnel's claim.
After a few minutes, theofficer-in-charge said that one of his men had seen the documentation
and confirmed that the area belonged to Raffles City. Dr Chee then
told the officer that he took the police's word for it and
stopped the sales.
This raises a question: On 10 September
2006, he and other activists were distributing flyers at the same
How could people be charged for public assembly without a permit in a public place at the same location if the area
is private property?
Raffles City says it is private property, the Attorney-General's Chambers says it is public property. If Raffles City is right, the AGC has a lot of explaining to do. Buya copy of Democratically Speaking or Donateto the Discharge CSJ Fund.
You are charged that you, on the
10th day of September 2006 at about 12:15 pm, in the vicinity of
Raffles City Shopping Centre, North Bridge Road, Singapore, which is
a public place, together with 5 persons did participate in an
assembly intended to demonstrate opposition to the actions of the
Government, which assembly you ought reasonably to have known was
held without a permit under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order
& Nuisance)(Assemblies & Processions) Rules, and you have
thereby committed an offence punishable under Rule 5 of the said
Mark Chua Senior Investigation Officer Central
Police Division 29 December 2008
Rule 5 of the
Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order & Nuisance)(Assemblies &
Processions) Rules:Any person who participates in any assembly or
procession in any public road, public place or place of public
resort shall, if he knows or ought reasonably to have known that the
assembly or processions is held without a permit, or in contravention
of any term or condition of a permit, be guilty of an offence and
shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.