'Badge Lady' back in court to face fresh charges for not wearing mask

Phoon Chiu Yoke, 55, is back in the court against for fresh charges of failing to wear a mask when required.
Phoon Chiu Yoke, 55, is back in the court against for fresh charges of failing to wear a mask when required. (FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore/Dhany Osman)

SINGAPORE — The woman dubbed "Badge Lady", who made headlines last year for refusing to wear a face mask in public places, was brought back to court on Wednesday (7 September) on fresh charges.

The Straits Times reported that 55-year-old Phoon Chiu Yoke, who was given that moniker by netizens following a viral clip of her berating safe distancing ambassadors at Marina Bay Sands (MBS), is now accused of three new offences.

Two of the them are under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act for breaching COVID-19 regulations by failing to wear a mask when it was required. According to court documents, this happened twice at the Mandarin Gallery mall along Orchard Road on 6 March, including when she was walking by a Victoria's Secret outlet there.

The third offence, under the Infectious Diseases Act, is for not complying with an officer during investigations, as she failed to attend an investigation hearing convened by the Singapore Tourism Board on 31 March.

Phoon's case has been adjourned for a pre-trial conference on 14 October.

Jailed 16 weeks after being caught on numerous occasions

Phoon was jailed for 16 weeks in September 2021 after she was caught in numerous occasions for failing to wear a face mask in public during the pandemic. She has since completed serving her jail sentence.

She first made headlines in May last year, when she was caught on video not wearing a mask at MBS. The viral video showed her telling the safe distancing ambassadors, "Who are you? Who are you representing? Where is your badge? Show me your badge."

Phoon - whom the court heard had held the rank of major in the Republic of Singapore Navy before she retired in 2002 - was handed five charges under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act later that month, but removed her mask as she walked out of the States Courts building.

While out on bail on 25 June last year, she was spotted at Mandarin Orchard Singapore without a mask again. She was charged over this incident, and was taken into custody with her bail revoked.

First-time offenders who breach laws under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000. Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000.

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