Singaporean blogger Amos Yee was arrested on Wednesday for failing to report to a police station and for “uttering words with an intent to wound religious and racial feelings”.

His former lawyer Alfred Dodwell confirmed to the Today newspaper that the 17-year-old’s mother had contacted him seeking help.

amos yee
Amos Yee speaking to HKFP via Skype.

Police told the newspaper that Yee had violated sections of Singapore’s Penal Code after he published a YouTube video in November last year.

Section 298 relates to the use of offensive and disparaging remarks against religious communities, whilst section 174 pertains to the failure to attend a session ordered by a public servant.

‘Left the country’

Yee was asked to show up at a police station on December 14 and 22 of last year, but claimed that he had run away from home.

“The subject disregarded the notice and left the country shortly thereafter, and remained overseas for a prolonged period until his return in April 2016,” a police spokesperson told Today.

On May 3, Yee posted a video appearing to show police officers visiting his home.

In an interview with HKFP published on Tuesday, Yee refused to disclose where he was during his absence.

Yee frequently posts videos critical of the government and the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). Last year, he was thrust into the limelight after he was convicted in May of two charges: one of offending the sentiments of Christians in a video comparing Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan-yew with Jesus Christ, and the second for posting an obscene doctored image featuring Lee and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in a sexual position.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.