Man Given 24-Month Conditional Warning For Pride Flag Abuse At Lau Pa Sat

In Jan 2021, a man saw a Pride flag displayed at a Lau Pa Sat stall and angrily threw it at the staff there while shouting at them.

Man Removes Pride Flag From Eatery Counter & Throws It At Staff, Stall Owner Says She’ll Continue Supporting LGBTQ

That incident provoked shock from both the owner of SMOL – the eatery – and the wider public.

Since then, the 47-year-old man was given a conditional warning.

Police give 24 months’ conditional warning to man for Pride flag abuse

Progress Singapore Party non-constituency MP Leong Mun Wai had asked Mr Shanmugam if there was an update to the case and whether there’ll be further steps taken to deal with such abuse cases.

In a written reply by Home Affairs & Law Minister K Shanmugam to the question, he noted that police investigations into the incident have concluded.

As no injuries were caused and the man had a history of mental disorder, police didn’t recommend prosecution.

The incident was also not “protracted”, meaning it didn’t last a long time.

Mr Shanmugam confirmed in the reply that the man was given a warning for an offence of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress under Section 3(2) of the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA).

The police’s conditional warning will last for 24 months.

Harassment and abuse not tolerated

Mr Shanmugam went on to state that there’s no tolerance for any harassment and abuse.

LGBTQ individuals are protected the same as anyone else under the law, he emphasised.

Under POHA, for example, there are civil and criminal measures to protect victims from harassment and abuse.

If there is hurt or incitement of violence, there’s legislation such as the Penal Code to deal with them under the law.

Additionally, as of 2019, it is an offence to urge violence on the grounds of religion or religious belief, against any person or group under the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA).

Mixed reactions to conclusion

While there are grounds by the police to give the man a warning, some felt that this may legitimise other harassing acts against LGBTQ individuals.

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As shown by some other comments, there was rejoicing that the man appeared to get off lightly.

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Hope that such acts don’t recur

Just recently, an incident on 29 Jun where a group of people forcibly removed a Pride flag from a woman’s flat twice came under police investigation.

If incidents like these aren’t dealt with more harshly, this may embolden others to perform similar acts of harassment.

That said, it’s unlikely that the man will get away with performing a similar act as the warning is conditional.

Personal property has to be respected and there should be no tolerance for any harassment whatsoever.

We hope that such acts do not recur again and that LGBTQ individuals can live safely with the same respect accorded to them as other citizens.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook.