A Singapore court on Wednesday denied bail to a man charged with hacking the district website of the Prime Minister, using the symbol of international hacker group Anonymous.
Singaporean James Raj was extradited from Malaysia and charged on November 12 with hacking the Ang Mo Kio district website, whose MPs include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and posting the image of a Guy Fawkes Mask used by Anonymous.
The alleged hacking was among a string of cyber attacks that have also targeted the websites of Premier Lee and President Tony Tan as well as pro-government media, in a row over Internet freedom in the city state.
District Judge Soh Tze Bian said Raj, 35, posed a flight risk because he previously jumped bail and fled to Malaysia after being slapped with illegal drugs consumption charges in 2011.
Raj has yet to comment on his links to Anonymous, an amorphous group of hackers.
He identified himself as “The Messiah”, according to court documents, a name also used by a hacker targeting a reporter’s blog in the pro-government Straits Times website on November 1.
The alleged intrusion by Raj took place three days before a self-proclaimed spokesperson for Anonymous appeared in a video on October 31 to demand the scrapping of a recent Singapore law requiring news websites to obtain annual licences.
The Internet licensing rules, which came into effect in June, have sparked anger among bloggers and activists who say they are designed to muzzle free expression.
Singapore strictly regulates the traditional media, but insists the recent licensing rules do not impinge on Internet freedom.
Police have previously said Raj was linked to other hacking attacks, including on the website of a charity associated with the ruling People’s Action Party.
Two Singaporean men have so far been charged with defacing the president’s website. Police have said that there are no links between Raj and these suspects.