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Singaporean man charged after threatening to ‘open fire’ on LGBTs

world Updated: Jun 30, 2016 18:37 IST

Participants dressed in pink embrace as they enjoy a picnic before taking part in the forming of a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore.(Reuters File)

A man whose Facebook comment calling for violence against the local LGBT community went viral after a shooting at a popular gay club in Florida was charged in Singapore on Thursday.

Bryan Lim, 36, faces up to five years in jail and a fine if convicted of inciting violence through the Internet.

Lim had posted the comment on a Facebook group page set up to oppose Pink Dot, an annual gay rights rally in Singapore.

“Give me permission to open fire. I would like to see these £@EUR$^*s die for their causes,” Lim wrote.

In the post, he identified himself as a father and a Singaporean citizen who had undergone mandatory military service and had sworn “to protect my nation”.

The comment was posted on June 4 but only went viral after the June 12 shooting in Orlando, Florida which killed 49 people. Several Internet users made police reports against him.

Lim later apologised, claiming that his comment had been “taken out of context”.

“I did not mean physical bullets nor physical death,” he wrote. “I mean open fire in debate and remove them from Singapore domestic matters.”

Lim’s computers and phone have been seized by police and he will next appear in court in August.

Singapore, an ethnically diverse city-state, has tough laws against violence and hate speech.

On Tuesday, a website owner was jailed for eight months for publishing fabricated articles that stirred hatred against foreigners in Singapore.

But Singapore’s leaders have had to maintain a difficult balance between increasingly vocal conservatives and gay rights supporters.

Earlier in June, the government warned foreign firms against sponsoring Pink Dot, while a local staging of Les Miserables was forced to cut a scene involving a kiss between two male actors because of public complaints.

Sex between men remains illegal in Singapore, a holdover from colonial rule that is not strictly enforced.

In an interview with journalists last year, Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said the country was not ready to legalise same-sex marriage, but added that the local gay community did not face harassment or discrimination.