SINGAPORE — A group of 12 individuals who gathered during Phase 1 of Singapore’s reopening to attend a birthday party were each fined on Wednesday (27 January).
Eleven of them were men: Brandon Chew Chng Hwee, 24, Frederick Ng Jun Ming, 27, Melvinden Balakrishnan, 25, Darryl Lim Zong Han, 23, Daryl Tang Guan Rui, 25, Ho Yuan Liang, 25, How Yu Sheng, 24, Chia Shuo Hong, 23, Dylan Tan Zhan Yi, 22, Dexter Low Yong De, 22, Rayson Tham Yuan Feng, 22. The sole woman in the group is Felicia Khoo Li Pei, 25.
Ng was fined $3,500 while Ho, Chew and Low were fined $2,500 each. The remaining were fined $2,000 each.
Each of the 12 Singaporeans pleaded guilty to one count of meeting each other for a social purpose without reasonable excuse.
Singapore entered a partial lockdown on 7 April, followed by Phase 1 reopening, which started on 2 June. In Phase 1, Singaporeans were still not permitted to meet those outside of their residences.
On 9 June last year at night, when it was still under Phase 1, a person known as Windsor Lim Weng Wah and Ng agreed to meet a warehouse at 10 Buroh Street, West Connect Building, to celebrate Windsor’s birthday.
Ng invited more people, and some of the latter group invited others. All began arriving at the warehouse from 11pm, Apart from Ng and Khoo, who lived together, all the others lived separately.
They celebrated Windsor’s birthday until the wee hours of 10 June, consuming alcohol and playing drinking games.
At about 3.08am, an unknown woman called the police to report the gathering, adding that she suspected drugs were involved.
Some 20 minutes later, a party of police officers arrived at the warehouse and heard loud music coming from it. They entered the warehouse and told the party to disperse. Apart from Chia, who had a work appointment at the warehouse later that morning, the rest left.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yen Seow pointed out that the sheer number of people at the gathering was an aggravating factor.
Seeking stiff fines for the 12 accused, DPP Tan said, “If anyone was infected, the birthday party could have been the birth of a new COVID-19 cluster.”
In mitigation, each of the accused person asked for leniency and lower fines, stating that they were either out of jobs or were receiving pay cuts. Others said they had businesses which were affected or had to foot bills for their families.
Three others, including Windsor, will be dealt with at a later stage.
For breaching COVID-19 regulations, each could have been jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000.
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