SINGAPORE - Teenage blogger Amos Yee has been detained in the United States over immigration-related matters.
According to the United States' Immigration and Customs Enforcement website, an "Amos Pang Sang Yee" from Singapore is currently detained at the McHenry County Jail, an hour's drive from Chicago.
There were no other details about the detention on the website, but the South China Morning Post reported on Friday (Dec 23) that the 18-year-old was detained after he landed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on Dec 16.
The paper quoted US-based Singaporean activist Melissa Chen as saying he had entered the US on a tourist visa, but was detained following a secondary screening in which he told immigration officers he was seeking asylum.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, asylum may be granted to those who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country.
This must be due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution because of the asylum seeker's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Yee’s mother, Madam Mary Toh, said that her son is seeking political asylum in the US and “the matter is now with his lawyers”.
When contacted by The Straits Times, she declined to comment on whether she had spoken to her son or what she planned to do next.
Mr Yee has served two prison terms for wounding religious feelings.
In September 2016, he was jailed six weeks and fined $2,000 for eight charges - two for failing to turn up at a police station and six for intending to wound the feelings of Muslims and/or Christians.
In July 2015, he served a four-week sentence for making remarks that were derogatory and offensive to Christians in an online video.