SINGAPORE – Two youths attended the funeral service for the father of a fellow gang member amid the Covid-19 pandemic on April 5 and took part in a secret society ritual in front of an altar.
A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named because of his age, and Eugine Lee Eng Qin, now 20, as well as 12 other members shouted gang slogans three times before dispersing.
One of the dead man’s family members recorded a video of the ritual, which was then shared on WhatsApp with other family members.
Police found out about the 22-second clip and the gang members were arrested.
On Wednesday (Sept 30), Lee and the teenager pleaded guilty in a district court to one count each of being a member of an unlawful society and taking part in a gathering involving more than 10 people, in contravention of rules imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus from March 27 to April 30.
Lee also admitted that he had invited another youth to become a secret society member.
The court heard that in January, a man, known only as “Ah Boy” invited Lee to come under his “headmanship” in the secret society.
On April 4, Ah Boy contacted Lee, asking him to attend the funeral service of a fellow gang member’s father. The 17-year-old boy received a similar instruction from another gang member that day.
The pair met the other gang members at the service at a pavilion near Block 37 Circuit Road on April 5. The “secret society ritual” started at around 1pm that day.
The dead man’s son knelt beside the altar while another gang member prepared two burning joss sticks.
After that, Lee, the teenager and the other members were told to gather in front of the altar. A gang member then began reciting the secret society’s poem.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryan Wong said: “During the recitation of the gang poem, (Lee, the teenager) and the other co-accused persons stood in front of the altar, bowing three times to pay their respects.”
The joss sticks were offered at the altar and all the gang members then shouted gang slogans. The ritual, which was captured on video, ended soon after.
The DPP said that Ah Boy has blocked Lee on messaging platform Telegram since the clip’s circulation. It was Lee’s only means of contacting Ah Boy, who has not been identified.
On Wednesday, District Judge May Mesenas called for reports to assess Lee and the teenager’s suitability for probation. The pair will be sentenced on Nov 11.
The cases involving the other gang members are still pending.
For being a member of an unlawful society, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $5,000.
For taking part in a gathering involving more than 10 people during the virus control period, an offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.
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