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Agence France Presse
27 April 2005
Two Falungong members were detained in Singapore on Wednesday, April 27, after refusing to pay court-imposed fines for handing out VCDs in public that promoted their religion, their lawyer said.
Chinese national Cheng Lu Jin, 37, was fined S$24,000 (US$14,600) on Wednesday, while Singaporean Ng Chye Huay, 39, was fined $20,000, for handing out the unauthorised VCDs and unlawful assembly.
Judge Wong Li Tein said the two should have applied for a permit, and had shown “absolutely no remorse for their actions”.
Defence lawyer Alfred Dodwell told AFP his clients felt they had been treated unfairly by the law and would appeal the verdict.
“We will continue to do what is necessary to bring to the attention of all parties concerned that everybody has rights,” Dodwell said, adding Wong had ordered the pair be jailed until they paid their fines.
A person convicted of unlawful assembly can be fined up to $1000 according to Singapore law. Handing out VCDs without a license is punishable by a fine of up to $40,000, or a one-year jail term, or both.
Singapore Falun Buddhist Society spokeswoman Diana Wang said in a statement the city-state was the only country outside China that had brought charges against Falungong practitioners for carrying out “truth-clarification” activities.
“Such activities are conducted on a daily basis by Falun Gong practitioners worldwide to bring to attention the inhumane persecution and the atrocities committed against Falun Gong practitioners in China since July 1999,” she said.