Police on Tuesday (20 November) seized equipment such as desktop computers, mobile devices and laptops from the residence of Terry Xu, executive editor of long-running socio-political website The Online Citizen (TOC).
According to a post on TOC’s Facebook page at about 1.45pm, “The Online Citizen will be on hiatus for the time being as all electronic equipment used for the purpose of the website have been seized by the Singapore Police Force for an investigation into an alleged offence of Criminal Defamation under Section 21 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 68.
“The equipment, which include desktop, mobile devices and laptops, was seized at the residence of Terry Xu in the presence of five police officers this morning. No confirmed date of return has been given as investigation will take some time to conclude.”
Kirsten Han, freelance journalist and editor-in-chief of online journalism platform New Naratif, tweeted at around 2.05pm, “Five police officers went to the home of @tocsg editor Terry Xu and seized his electronic equipment, as part of their investigation into an alleged offence of criminal defamation.”
Xu was uncontactable when Yahoo News Singapore tried to reach him via his mobile phone.
Founded by Andrew Loh in 2006, TOC is one of the longest-running independent online media platforms in Singapore.
In 2011, the Singapore Registry of Political Donations gazetted the platform as a political organisation, noting that the editors of the website organised online and offline campaigns to change legislation and government policies.
Under the Political Donations Act, political entities cannot receive funds from foreign contributors and anonymous contributions above S$5,000.
In February 2018, TOC was de-gazetted as a “political association”, as it is currently run by only Xu.