The Online Citizen On Hiatus After Police Seize Its Equipment

The Online Citizen On Hiatus

The Online Citizen is officially The Offline Citizen — well, for the time being at least.

The sociopolitical website will go on hiatus from Tuesday (20 Nov), after its equipment was allegedly seized by the Singapore Police Force.


In a Facebook post on Tuesday, TOC said that it was under investigation for an alleged offence of Criminal Defamation under Section 21 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 68.

Equipment seized include:

  • A desktop PC
  • Mobile devices
  • Laptops

5 police officers seized the items on Tuesday morning at the home of TOC editor Mr Terry Xu. It is unclear when authorities will return the equipment.

Website still accessible

As of 2pm on Tuesday, TOC’s website was still accessible. However, it’s likely that it won’t be able to publish any new stories in the coming days.

It is unclear which of TOC’s articles triggered the investigation. The most recent article was published on Monday.

Written by Kathleen F., it documented a hawker’s reaction to Dr Amy Khor’s comments on rental prices. The article was based on a podcast produced by New Naratif, a digital publication run by Dr PJ Thum.

On Monday, TOC also published an op-ed about the government’s relationship with alternative news sites like itself.

Could the headline, with its “Government fans claims of fake news” phrase, have sparked the investigation?

MS News has reached out to SPF for comment.

A difficult relationship

Over the years, The Online Citizen has had a difficult relationship with the government, to say the least.

Most recently, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam accused the site of launching a “planned, orchestrated campaign” to discredit the police during the Benjamin Lim saga.

And in 2015, it was issued at least 3 take-down notices for its articles on Amos Yee, government funds as well as an interview with Dr Ting Choon Meng. Dr Ting had sued MINDEF in 2011 over a patent.


Featured image from TheOnlineCitizen.

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