If I am Ang Tock Seng, I will not be sleeping easy tonight. Karma works in a strange way. Ang should know. He believes in karma too, as he said so himself in his Facebook post, fingering a “Cherry Tan” as the female culprit in the hawker centre pushing incident at Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market and Food Centre on Saturday:

It seems he Ang had fingered the wrong person. Now, Cherry Tan has made a police report against him for harassment and may be taking further action against him for the unnecessary distress he had caused her:

Ang and other online vigilante wannabes and online lynch mob may want to be reminded of this:

Would you randomly finger a stranger to a crime in real life if you are not a direct witness?

Why is it that simple moral ethics which people can adhere to in real life, do not seem to apply in the online world?

Everyone deserves to have their own views over the actions of the couple involved in the pushing incident or to debate about the chope culture at hawker centres in Singapore. However, I think a fine line needs to be drawn between what is acceptable and unacceptable online comments.

What Ang did was definitely unacceptable.

Troll Facebook page, SMRT Feedback by the Vigilanteh, made things worst with this post (since deleted):

I am not sure if Ang or the Vigilanteh pointed the needle to Cherry Tan first (anyone can help verify?). In any case, the latter is the one with a huge following of over 400,000 fans on Facebook and definitely amplified the unfounded accusation to a wider audience. To be fair, they did put a disclaimer that the information source is unconfirmed. The online mob could not care less and treated the information as if it is verified truth.

The Vigilanteh was previously credited for bringing down Jover Chew and his dodgy Air Mobile scam business at Sim Lim Square, preying on foreigners looking for cheap mobile phones. Most Singaporeans seem to cheer on their online vigilantism, probably in response to the frustration that the police seem to not be able to do much to curb the many scamming incidents at Sim Lim Square.

I have to quote Spiderman’s uncle Ben here: “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Is online vigilantism something we should even encourage?

Think Batman and Gotham City.

For those who think lightly of how hurtful online accusations can be, you probably have never been put through an internet lynch mob before.

Ask any social influencers, bloggers or online personalities and they can talk to you for days on how malicious and tenacious some online trolls can be; not to mentioned the extend people will go to dig out your private information to publicly shame you to the max.

After fingering Cherry Tan wrongly, Ang Tock Seng is now busy going around apologising on various online posts for his mistake. He had also taken down his personal Facebook account, probably because he is now the subject of online vigilantism himself – a CSI bounty has been placed on him by forummers on EDMW. 

Ang Tock Seng is right – karma bites.