Even as most residents in Singapore have gotten their vaccine jabs, there are those who remain sceptical about its effects. Some have even been spreading false information about Covid-19 and the vaccines.
Recently, the founders of an anti-vaccine group in Singapore, Healing The Divide, have been under investigation for asking others to call and spam public hotlines.
The group was previously known to have spread misleading information about Covid-19 and the vaccines.
According to The Straits Times (ST), the 2 founders – Ms Iris Koh and Mr Raymond Ng, allegedly instigated others to call and overwhelm public hotlines. It is understood that the pair are a couple.
Last Thursday (18 Oct), the police received a report that the couple had incited members of the Telegram group to overwhelm public hotlines.
Members were told to give feedback on stricter vaccination-differentiated measures to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
The founders also asked members to ‘push’ their feedback up to the call centre’s manager and make sure they get a response.
Should the call centres not do so, members were urged to call again the next day to ask for a follow-up.
Both Ms Koh and Mr Ng are currently under investigation for abetment, where they instigated individuals to obstruct public servants’ duties.
In a Telegram video sent on Thursday (25 Nov), Ms Koh said she was released from police investigations.
She also shared about how she refused to hand her phone to the authorities and will be suing the government for crimes against humanity.
At about 1.21pm, Ms Koh notified members that Mr Ng was also released.
For obstructing public servants’ duties, individuals can be jailed for up to 3 months, fined up to $2,500, or both.
Additionally, abetting such an offence by the public in general, involving a group of people larger than 10, carries a jail term of up to 5 years, a fine, or both.
The police mentioned they will not hesitate to take action against anyone who disrupts and overwhelms essential call centre operations as well as those who encourage others to do so.
This is especially since public hotlines are crucial for Singaporeans during this period. Thus, having a surge of unnecessary calls could inconvenience members who genuinely require help.
Public hotlines are meant to serve individuals with genuine queries and needs. Flooding them not only waste public resource but also deprive others in need of the chance to seek help.
We hope members of the public will refrain from doing so and more importantly, not urge others to perform such irresponsible acts.
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Featured image adapted from Healing The Divide Channel on Telegram.
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