|I never said I was going to prove anything in a court of law|
"Religion is the opium of the people", is one of the frequently paraphrased quotes of Karl Marx, originally translated from the German, "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes". Charles Kingsley, Canon of the Church of England, wrote this four years after Marx: "We have used the Bible as if it were a mere special constable's hand book, an opium dose for keeping beasts of burden patient while they were being overloaded, a mere book to keep the poor in order." Lenin, the other great Communist, also said, "Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward." So why would hard core Marxists avowed to violence, embrace peaceful religion, and vice versa?
Never mind it doesn't make sense, the Singapore government insisted in 1987 that church organisations were used to further the Marxist cause.
During a hastily arranged meeting between then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and head of the Catholic Church in Singapore Archbishop Gregory Yong and several other Catholic Church representatives, the group was shown Internal Security Department's (ISD) produced documents relating to Vincent Cheng. The 2 June 1987 meeting and subsequent press conference during which Lee Kuan Yew corralled Archbishop Gregory Yong to attend was intended to show that the government action to arrest "subversive elements of the Marxist plot" was not directed at the Catholic Church. He was prepared to go after idealistic students he dismissed as "do-gooders who wanted to help the poor and the dispossessed" [as addressed to the Reverend Giovanni D'Aniello, charge d'affaires to the Apostolic Nunciative], but the Catholic Church was different game.
Whatever impression the press released photo may convey, the archbishop was far from convinced that Vincent Cheng and associates were involved in clandestine communist activities. When he asked for proof, this was the response:
"I have never said I was going to prove anything in a court of law.
It is not the practice nor will I allow subversives to get away by insisting that I got to prove everything against them in a court of law or provide evidence that will stand up to the strict rules of evidence in a court of law."
Words from the same guy who demanded that the Labour Front government in 1956 release his then PAP assemblyman, Lim Chin Siong, "if the government wants to retain the slightest pretensions to democracy. If it cannot, then it must release him. And that goes for all the other persons who have been detained."
The hard truth is that the 16 young victims (6 more were later picked up) were targeted for retributive action for rendering services to JB Jeyaretnam and the Workers' Party during the 1981 by-election and 1984 election like printing and distributing pamphlets, and providing editorial assistance at The Hammer, which the Ministry of Home Affairs interpreted as "a useful medium to disseminate anti-government propaganda and influence public opinion against the government."