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Singapore sentence is symbolic in fight against online hate

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

Our director, Matt Himsworth, appeared today on BBC News to talk about the recent sentence of Derek Ng, a Singaporean teenager, who was ordered to do 9 months on probation with community service following death threats sent to Brighton and Hove Albion striker Neal Maupay.

Cases like this are significant in the challenge of balancing online behaviours away from hatred and abuse and towards civility and kindness. The internet is often, wrongly, perceived by back bedroom abusers as a safe haven to behave despicably, particularly when they are in a different jurisdiction to their victims.

The Premier League's cooperation with the Singaporean authorities and their work with digital investigators shows that abusers do leave a "muddy footprint" online and there can be serious "real world" consequences, no matter where you are based. Ng's sentence will have a stigma on him that will last a long time. We hope that he can be redeemed and take a leaf out of the book of Isabella Sorley, a young woman who was in a troubled place when she abused campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez online, but who has now been rehabilitated and works with local police forces to educate young people.

We are working with a female client now who has received the worst abuse imaginable from men who believe that they are anonymous and therefore exempt from the law. So many of those men are naive in this believe and we have been able to trace online CVs, places of work, email addresses and, ultimately, identities. The most recent individual, who took time to send the most hateful and misogynistic abuse, was, we discovered, a man with a Master's Degree but, apparently, no sense of decency. Case's like Ng's (and the cases which we will work with our client to pursue) will hopefully be a lesson to people with that mindset.

Part of Matt's interview with the BBC is here:


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