SINGAPORE (AP) – The head of Singapore’s Falun Gong association said Thursday the spiritual group is ready to help two fellow members pay fines if they are convicted of unlawful assembly and handing out VCDs about its practices and alleged persecution in China.
Chinese national Cheng Lu Jin, 37, and Singaporean Ng Chye Huay, 39, appeared in the city-state’s Subordinate Court Tuesday and Wednesday on the charges, supported by dozens of Falun Gong followers who packed the public gallery. The case has been adjourned until Wednesday.
“If it comes to that then, and they are unable to pay the fines, certainly I think our practitioners would chip in,” William Huang, President of the Falun Dafa Association of Singapore said in an interview.
The group – banned as an “evil cult” in China, where it says its followers are routinely detained and arrested – is legal in Singapore. Members, however, must comply with Singapore’s strict rules, which require a police permit for outdoor gatherings of more than four people.
Huang said there were up to 400 followers in Singapore.
A person convicted of participating in an unlawful assembly can be fined up to 1,000 Singapore dollars (US$611; euro459), according to online material from the attorney general’s chambers.
Handing out VCDs without a license is punishable by a fine of S$10,000 to S$40,000, (US$6,111; euro4,598 to US$24,460; euro18,391) and a jail term of up to one year, the attorney general’s Web site said.