TRS sedition trial: Ai Takagi convicted of four charges of sedition
SINGAPORE - The former editor of a now-defunct sociopolitical website was convicted on four charges of sedition on Tuesday (March 8).
Australian Ai Takagi, 23, pleaded guilty to publishing the inflammatory articles on The Real Singapore news portal and its Facebook page.
She also admitted to another three counts of sedition and one charge of failing to produce financial statements on the website's advertising revenue to the police. These will be considered in sentencing.
District Judge Salina Ishak adjourned sentencing submissions to March 23.
Takagi and her Singaporean husband, Yang Kaiheng, 27, were expected to face a joint trial on Monday (March 8).
But before it began, she told the court she would be pleading guilty.
Her husband, however, is denying the charges.
The articles posted on TRS between October 2013 and February last year are alleged to have promoted ill will and hostility between different races or classes in Singapore.
Among the contentious articles is one in which Takagi adopted the Malay name "Farhan" to hide her identity as a foreigner while fostering xenophobia - an act Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan found "outrageous".
The couple pocketed "enormous" sums from advertising revenue, he said.
Based on their bank statements, they earned between AU$20,000 (S$20,420) and more than AU$50,000 a month, he added. They earned close to $500,000 from December 2013 to April 2015.
The TRS website was shut down by its editors last May, after the authorities suspended their licence to operate the site and ordered them to take it offline.
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