SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore said on Friday it had canceled the permanent residence status of a professor at a prominent postgraduate school whom it identified as a U.S. citizen, and accused him of being an agent of influence for a foreign country.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said Huang Jing, a professor of U.S.-China relations at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, “knowingly interacted with intelligence organizations and agents of the foreign country” with the aim of bringing about a change in the direction of Singapore’s foreign policy.
The ruling, which also applied to Huang’s wife, Shirley Yang Xiuping, means that if they leave Singapore, they will not be readmitted.
The ministry identified the couple as U.S. citizens, but did not identify the country that Huang was alleged to have been working for.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department said it was aware of the Singapore announcement but declined further comment, citing privacy concerns.
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper quoted Huang as denying the allegations.
“It’s nonsense to identify me as ‘an agent of influence’ for a foreign country,” he said. “And why didn’t they identify which foreign country they’re referring to? Is it the U.S. or China?”
Huang said he would seek help from his lawyer and the U.S. embassy in Singapore.
“My family and my home are all here. I have property in Singapore, too. How can they treat me like this? If they have evidence, they should take me to court,” said Huang, who was not given a deadline to leave the island state.
The home affairs ministry charged that Huang had used his position at the Lee Kwan Yew school “to deliberately and covertly advance the agenda of a foreign country at Singapore’s expense.”
“He did this in collaboration with foreign intelligence agents,” it added.
The ministry said Huang and his wife could appeal, but if unsuccessful, would have to leave Singapore within a grace period.
The university said it had suspended Huang without pay while it worked with the ministry on the matter.
“As these permits have been canceled, we would not be able to continue with his employment,” it said in a statement, adding that it could not comment on the specifics of the case.
The ministry said Huang had engaged with prominent and influential Singaporeans, giving them what he claimed to be “privileged information” about the foreign country with which he was interacting.