The prosecution on Tuesday (Apr 5) tendered a video of Yang Kaiheng, who had filmed himself in 2012 saying he ran “an online news site”.
Yang, 27, had filmed the video to enter himself into a start-up competition. The video was accompanied by a short entry form, in which Yang wrote he had “started and continue to run an online news media site (The Real Singapore) from which advertising revenue is generated”. He also wrote that he ran the site – “one of the top 100 sites traffic-wise in Singapore – together with Ai Takagi”.
He is on trial for seven counts of sedition for using TRS to “maliciously exploit racial and xenophobic fault lines” via seven seditious posts which targeted foreigners from the Philippines, India and China.
The new evidence came to light over the weekend, and on Monday, prosecutors spoke to K Sudesh Durai, who studied with Yang while in junior college. His identity was established using SMS chat logs obtained during earlier investigations, after which he provided prosecutors with e-mail records, chat logs and the aforementioned video.
Mr Sudesh and Yang kept in touch after school, although their relationship soured after Yang backed out of a business venture the friends had entered into together, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Janet George told the court.
Mr Sudesh also handed over a video of Takagi, 23, which was similarly played in court on Tuesday. Takagi, who is Yang’s wife, had filmed a short video clip of herself to submit in the same start-up competition.
A flustered Takagi was seen speaking to Yang in the dock before Tuesday morning’s hearing. Yang was seen communicating with his lawyer, Choo Zheng Xi while the prosecutors questioned Mr Sudesh.
'WE CAN EARN OUR FIRST POT OF GOLD' FROM TRS
The couple had joined the competition together with Mr Sudesh and another person. The quartet had been involved in a start-up business venture known as Acreet, which was conceptualised as a “giveaway website”, DPP George told the court.
Though Mr Sudesh had only been involved in Acreet and not in TRS, Yang regularly spoke to him about running the website. In discussing potential business ideas, Yang told Mr Sudesh: “I started TRS … earning about S$4,000 to S$5,000 a month from my website now”.
“I (want to) earn more. I (want to) buy car, bungalow”, Yang added, according to WhatsApp records.
He also asked his friend to help think of TRS merchandise he could sell on the website. “We can earn our first pot of gold from my website”, Yang told Mr Sudesh via WhatsApp.
Deputy Public Prosecutor G Kannan pointed out Yang had repeatedly referred to TRS as “my site” or “my website” and had also told Mr Sudesh he had been having trouble developing the TRS app.
Yang’s lawyer Choo Zheng Xi is expected to cross-examine Mr Sudesh on Tuesday afternoon.
Takagi had earlier pleaded guilty to four counts of sedition and was sentenced to 10 months' jail. She admitted to publishing doctored and false information on TRS in an attempt to fan anti-foreigner sentiments in Singapore and use the controversial posts to increase the sociopolitical blog’s readership. She will begin serving her jail term on Apr 22.