TOC snubs demand of apology by son of elderly woman with dementia who was allegedly "bullied" by police officersJul 16, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership AI
The son of the 85-year-old woman with dementia that was allegedly "bullied" by police officers for not wearing a mask has demanded an apology from The Online Citizen (TOC) for manipulating the circumstances of the incident.
The woman was seen in a video uploaded on May 18 that showed a group of police officers allegedly "taunting" her.
The video, originally posted as an Instagram story by @nichology, also accused the officers of "cluster[ing" the elderly woman and abusing their authority.
The claims were later reproduced by The Online Citizen Asia (TOC) and Singapore Uncensored with TOC sending a representative down to elderly woman's home to interview her further.
TOC subsequently published the interview video on Facebook on May 25 and wrote that "she was not given food by the police officers" and "she was chased away from her spot".
It was later revealed by the Singapore Police Force that TOC's facts of the events were false and that the elderly woman in question had dementia.
Apology demanded by woman's son snubbed by TOC
According to Lianhe Zaobao, the woman's son - who was not named - sent a letter of demand to TOC on July 7 through his lawyer Anand Nalachandran from Forte Law LLC.
The deadline for the apology was on July 12 but TOC has refused to accede to the demand.
TOC's lawyer Lim Tean from Carson Law Chambers responded to the letter and insisted that the interview by TOC with the old woman was "appropriate and fair" therefore TOC will not apologise.
Lawyer Anand confirmed with Lianhe Zaobao that a reply letter from TOC has been received and that his law firm is currently assessing the next steps.
TOC believes it's not at fault
According to the reply letter by TOC's lawyer Lim Tean, he pointed out that TOC did not know that the elderly woman had dementia when they conducted the follow-up interview. He also claimed that a senior palliative care staff was present and was responsible for allowing TOC to speak to the woman.
Lim Tean pointed out that the police statement had described the elderly woman as having dementia so "any unfortunate public reaction is the police's actions". He also challenged the woman's son to go to the police if he thinks it has caused harm.
"Malicious attack on police by TOC" - Minister Shanmugam
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam accused TOC for attacking the police.
"So TOC, you go and interview her, this old lady, try and get her to say things," Shanmugam said.
"I would say this is despicable, and how low people will stoop. Unethical, cynical. This whole exercise by TOC is quite malicious to attack the police."
Shanmugam's comments came as the police took the unusual step of releasing body-worn camera footage of the incident to verify their account of alleged bullying of an elderly woman.
The police clarified that TOC's allegations were untrue, adding that officers responded to an incident on May 17 involving an 85-year-old woman who appeared to be lost.
The officers helped the woman, who did not have a mask on, to find her way home, said the police.
Shanmugam said that the elderly woman's daughter has confirmed that her mother has dementia.
"(The elderly woman's daughter) told the police she's upset that the old lady has been taken advantage of by TOC to spin a story, because TOC had put a video of the lady saying, various things," Shanmugam continued.
"People who have dealt with people who have dementia will know that you can sometimes get them to say many things they will not remember what they had half an hour earlier."
Backlash against TOC by netizens
After the police statement, backlash against TOC was quick to follow with over 100 comments by netizens condemning TOC's editorial integrity.
TOC is Malaysian-run
TOC is currently dominated by Malaysian writers as revealed by Fathership
The Malaysian writers who are not based in Singapore has in the past called for Singaporean civil servants to follow the example of their Hong Kong counterparts in protesting.
One of its writers also made allegations about Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's character.
In a speech on Sep. 25 at the RSIS Conference on Foreign Interference Tactics and Counter Measures, Shanmugam said that foreign writers working for TOC have written "inflammatory articles".
"TOC uses foreigners, employs them, including Malaysians, to write almost exclusively negative articles on Singaporean social and political matters, including inflammatory articles that seek to fracture social cohesion.
They support the call for Singaporean civil servants to follow the example of Hong Kong civil servants in protesting, making allegations about the Prime Minister which has led to a civil suit by the Prime Minister, because the PM says they are false attacks against his character and fitness to hold office."