Singapore news portal on 'hiatus' after computers seized by police

Singapore's famous Merlion (C) in front of the skyline of the city's financial business district.

(CNN)An independent media company in Singapore has announced that it is on indefinite "hiatus" following the seizure by police of computer equipment owned by its chief editor.

The Online Citizen, a Singaporean internet news portal, announced in a post on its Facebook page that it was forced to temporarily shutter following the loss of the equipment, which was used to produce content for its online site.
The devices "have been seized by the Singapore Police Force for an investigation into an alleged offense of Criminal Defamation under Section 21 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 68," the post says.
    "The equipment, which include desktop, mobile devices and laptops, was seized at the residence of Terry Xu in the presence of five police officers this morning. No confirmed date of return has been given as investigation will take some time to conclude."
    The Online Citizen's mission is to be an "open independent platform for alternative voices in Singapore," the site says on its Facebook page, which has more than 100,000 followers.
    The equipment was reportedly seized in relation to an article examining a Facebook post by Singaporean lawmaker Seah Kian Peng, in which he criticized several journalists for meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.
    The Singapore Police confirmed to CNN that a report has been lodged against TOC and the author of the article.
    "The Online Citizen (TOC) article ... made serious allegations that the government's highest officers are corrupt and that the constitution has been tampered with," the emailed statement read.
    "The Police are investigating this, for the offense of criminal defamation. Electronic equipment such as laptops and (cell)phones were seized in relation to the case."
    CNN has contacted the Singapore government for comment.
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