Anti-vaccine group founder apologises for asking followers to flood public hotlines


Screenshots showing Iris Koh, founder of the Healing The Divide group, with Raymond Ng, and the message reportedly sent by them. - SINGAPORE INK

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): The founder of an anti-vaccine group which discourages people from getting Covid-19 jabs, has apologised for having asked followers to flood public hotlines with calls.

In a Facebook post on Monday (Nov 29), Iris Koh, founder of Telegram group Healing the Divide, said: "Asking people to flood the call centre for no genuine reason is definitely wrong."

"I would like to seek everyone's understanding and please forgive me if I did not handle this matter properly."

She said she had made the comment on Oct 11, ahead of the introduction of vaccination-differentiated safe (VDS) management measures which would see unvaccinated people unable to dine in at hawker centres and coffee shops later that week.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) had said on Oct 9 that the VDS measures were a move to protect unvaccinated individuals in the community and to reduce the strain on the healthcare system.

On Monday (Nov 29), Koh confirmed that she was assisting the police with investigations.

Last Thursday (Nov 25), the police said it was investigating a 48-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman for allegedly instigating others to call and overwhelm public hotlines, including those that help the public with Covid-19 issues.

The Straits Times understands that the two are Koh, 45, and Raymond Ng, 48.

The police said that messages sent by the couple had urged the public to call the MOH hotline, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) hotline and the National Care Hotline.

They were also asked to demand that their feedback be pushed up to the respective call centre managers.

The police said: "The members were also encouraged to call the hotlines again the following day, to seek feedback on the calls they had made."

If found guilty of obstructing public servants' duties, the couple can face a jail term of up to three months, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

Abetting the commission of such an offence by the public in general, or by any number of people exceeding 10, is punishable with a jail term of up to five years, a fine, or both.

The police said they will not hesitate to take action against those who disrupt and overwhelm essential call centre operations or encourage others to do so.

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Singapore , anti-vaccine , Iris Koh , founder , hotline

   

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