Upping bail will not break my resolve to speak up

My bail money kept going up and up for the offences that I was alleged to have committed on May Day this year outside the Istana until it reached an amount that could only be paid in cash.

When I was arrested with Dr Chee Soon Juan at around 12.30 pm and subsequently released from Tanglin Police Station at close to midnight that day, I was accused of disorderly behaviour for which a police bail of $500 was set with one surety.

I was allowed to leave the country for an overseas trip and had to report back to the police station on 12 August 2002.

I was then charged on 12 August, now three in all, in a room on the third level of Tanglin Police station, the senior investigation officer told me that the bail money had been set at $3,000. But when I was brought down to formally sign the bail form at the reception counter of the station, an inspector told me that the bail was $5,000. When I protested, the inspector said there was a communication breakdown with the senior investigation officer.

With a $5,000-bail (not in cash) furnished, I was told to appear at Court 26 of the Subordinate Courts on Tuesday, 13 August, for mention.

Of course not guilty, was my immediate response when I was asked what my plea was after the charges had been read out to me by a court interpreter.

Soon, I was whisked away to the basement lockup hoping to be out soon by furnishing a non-cash bail of $5,000. As I was descending the steps of the basement, a policeman tossed over a slip of paper to me. It was a mention slip, and written on it was the bail money – $6,000. I was then told that a bail amount of $6,000 and above had to be provided in cash.

Under existing rules, if an accused failed to come up with bail by 4.30 pm on the day he is charged, he would be sent to Queenstown Remand Prison to spend the night in jail. Fortunately, my colleagues managed to raise the amount before the deadline.

Whatever the reason for continually upping my bail, my resolve in fighting for the downtrodden, especially the retrenched and unemployed who are, day be day, increasing in number, will not be broken.

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