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September 21, 2017

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Singapore opposition leader escapes jail term

SINGAPORE -- A vocal opposition leader in Singapore Thursday escaped a jail term after an online donation drive raised enough money to pay a fine instead.

Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), had faced a fine of SG$20,000 (US$16,000) after being convicted of "making an address in a public place without a license" in 2006.

Chee, 48, would have been imprisoned for 20 weeks had he failed to pay the amount by Thursday, prompting his political party to organize an online fund-raising drive.

"We are glad to announce that we have reached the target of SG$20,000 in contributions for Dr Chee Soon Juan's fine," said a post on the SDP's website.

"More than just keeping Dr Chee out of jail, Singaporeans have rallied and sent a message that they will not sit idly by when the opposition is persecuted."

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