SINGAPORE – Police seized the passport of a Hong Kong restaurant owner as they investigate him for allegedly organizing a rally here for people to voice their views on the protests in the city.
Police said on Wednesday (November 6) that they were alerted last month, October 11, to an incident involving Hong Kong resident Alex Yeung.
“The event first took place at the Kimoto Gastro Bar located at The Sail @ Marina Bay, and after a while, moved to the public area near the Promontory at Marina Boulevard,” police said in response to media inquiries.
“Currently, (Mr.) Yeung’s passport has been seized while assisting the police in the ongoing investigations,” the police said, adding, “He is not however arrested or in custody, and is free to go about his business in Singapore.
“The police would like to remind the public that organizing or participating in a public meeting without a police license in Singapore is illegal and constitutes an offense under the Public Order Act.
“Police will not grant permits for gatherings that promote political causes in other countries. Foreigners visiting or living in Singapore must obey our laws.”
Mr. Yeung, founder of the Wah Kee restaurant chain, is known for his pro-Chinese views.
He said in a video posted to YouTube on Monday that he traveled to Singapore on October 10 to explore the possibility of settling in Singapore and living here, as it is difficult to do business in Hong Kong now.
He said he planned to stay here for three days, until October 12.
“I never thought of doing anything illegal in Singapore … I was never a political person. I am a businessman,” he said in the video, which has been viewed over 185,000 times.
He met some of his fans at the bar on October 11 and they asked him if they could take pictures with him. “I wanted to go back to my hotel to sleep but I stayed out of politeness,” he said.
In a video of the rally circulating on social media, Mr. Yeung is seen speaking to a group of at least 10 people.
The meeting continued until around 10 p.m., before he decided to leave and was attended by some of the fans, Lianhe Zaobao reported.
In his video, Mr Yeung said he had spent four to five hours visiting parks in Singapore every day for the past month.
Through his lawyer Nicholas Narayanan, Mr. Yeung said he was unable to comment on what happened on October 11 due to the ongoing police investigation and is fully cooperating with the police.
Contacted Thursday, Kimoto Gastro Bar staff declined to comment on the gathering.