A senior Lianhe Zaobao reporter has been transferred to a backend role in the newsroom following criticisms by netizens that he had hounded actress Jayley Woo for comments on the death of her actor-boyfriend Aloysius Pang.
Two sources within Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore that Hong Ming Hua was transferred to SPH’s Chinese Media Group Digital platform.
In his current role, Hong is less involved in writing, said one of the sources.
In response to queries from Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore, an SPH spokesperson said the company does not discuss “internal staff matters”.
Hong was a senior entertainment correspondent with local Chinese newspapers Lianhe Zaobao and Lianhe Wanbao.
Woo posted screenshots on Instagram last week of text messages between her and Hong, which showed Hong pestering Woo for an interview despite her declining to comment. Questioning the Channel 8 actress’ suitability to be a celebrity, Hong said, “Aloy won’t do this to me.”
Netizens slammed the reporter for what they called his unethical behaviour and lack of professionalism. Hong apologised on Instagram later for his messages to Woo.
An online petition was started against Hong, calling for Lianhe Zaobao to take disciplinary action against him after the controversy surfaced. The petition on Change.org had garnered over 6,000 signatures as of Friday (1 February).
Pang, 28, died in a New Zealand hospital on 23 January after he sustained grave injuries during a military exercise with the Singapore Army’s 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery.
Woo went public about her relationship with Pang in an emotional tribute to him following her boyfriend’s death, which was the fourth Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)-training related fatality in 16 months.
The SAF has implemented an army-wide safety timeout as well as reduction in training tempo across the army, navy and the air force. A Committee of Inquiry has been convened to investigate the circumstances leading to Pang’s death.