Published: 06 July 2021
Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether he can provide an update on the investigation into the incident of a rainbow flag being thrown at staff of the SMOL salad bar at Lau Pa Sat; (b) whether further steps will be taken to deal with such incidents of abuse due to discrimination.
1. Police investigations into the case have concluded. A 47-year-old man was found to have thrown a small Pride flag in the direction of the staff of the SMOL restaurant at Lau Pa Sat and shouted at them for their display of the flag.
2. Police did not recommend prosecution in consideration that no injuries were caused, the man had a medical history of mental disorder which may explain in part his actions in the case, and the incident was not protracted. With the concurrence of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), Police have issued a 24-month conditional warning to the man for an offence of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress under Section 3(2) of the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA).
3. The Government’s position is clear – harassment and abuse of any person for any reason is not condoned. The law protects LGBTQ individuals the same as everyone else. For instance, POHA contains a range of both civil and criminal measures to protect all victims against offences involving harassment and abuse. Acts involving hurt or incitement of violence are criminalised under legislation such as the Penal Code. Amendments were also made to the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA) in 2019 to make it an offence to urge violence on the grounds of religion or religious belief, against any person or group.