Police ‘looking into’ case of man who displayed Palestinian flag

SINGAPORE — A man who hung a Palestinian flag over the parapet of a Housing and Development Board block at Sims Drive yesterday took it down after he was advised by the police.

The man, a freelance worker in the oil trade industry who only wanted to be known as Mr Gulam, 33, told TODAY that he had hung the flag — which was emblazoned with the word “free” — to spread awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, notably the “mass killing of innocent civilians”.

When the police visited him at his unit at about 9am, the flag had been up for about two hours. In response to media queries, the police said officers had advised the occupant of the unit.

“The flag was removed voluntarily. The police are looking into the matter,” a spokesperson said.

Mr Gulam, who is Singaporean, said he was asked about his racial background and the race and religion of his family.

“They took a look at my passport and enquired about the many Middle Eastern countries I’ve visited,” said Mr Gulam, who visited Israel seven months ago for work.

Under the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act, it is an offence for any person to display in public a national emblem, which includes a flag of any state other than Singapore.

The Act makes exceptions for diplomatic or consular representatives. A person convicted of the offence can be fined up to S$500 or jailed up to six months or both.

Mr Gulam also posted photos and videos of the conflict on his personal Facebook page, and has donated money to a donation drive in Malaysia aimed at helping Palestine victims. “(The conflict) should be important to every human being. If normal citizens can help out this way, world leaders should be taking action, too,” he added.

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