COVID-19: 10 Indian nationals charged over social gathering at Kim Keat Road on 5 May

The State Courts building seen on 21 April 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
The State Courts building seen on 21 April 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A group of 10 Indian nationals were charged on Friday (22 May) for breaching social distancing measures by gathering at a residential unit despite not living in the same house.

Three of the group are said to have invited the other seven to their residence, allowing them to enter their residence for a non-exempted reason, on 5 May. All are aged between 20 and 33.

The three tenants – consisting of a woman, Avinash Kaur, 27, and two men, Navdeep Singh, 20, and Sajandeep Singh, 21 – were charged for permitting others into their residence at 34A Kim Keat Road, a violation under the Reg 4(4) COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020

While Avinash has one charge, Navdeep and Sajandeep have three charges each – one count for each of three individuals they let into their house to talk and have tea on 5 May.

The other seven consist of a woman Bhullar Jasteena, 23, and six men – Arpit Kumar, 20, Karmjit Singh, 30, Mohammed Imran Pasha, 26, Sharma Lukesh, 21, Vijay Kumar, 20, and Waseem Akram, 33.

Each of them was charged with one count under Regulation 6 of the same regulations for meeting an at the same unit at 34A Kim Keat Road on the same day. They allegedly did so for a social purpose, to talk, have tea, and collect items.

Accused all unrepresented in court, some are students

Addressing the court, Bhullar, a student, said in English, “I feel that I made a mistake but my intentions were not that bad. I didn’t want to harm the rule of Singapore, (but I) went to (my friend’s) house... as I had to make an assignment and prepare for exams. I feel sorry because I’m a student.”

She said that she wanted to consult with her family on whether to engage a lawyer, as she could not make the decision herself.

Bhullar faces one count of meeting Avinash at the same unit at 11.30am on 5 May to study and prepare for a school assignment.

Her case has been fixed for a pre-trial conference on 5 June.

Avinash, who is said to have allowed Bhullar into her residence, said she would not be contesting the charge or engaging a lawyer.

Pasha and Vijay, also students, said that they were not aware of the rules. Pasha added that he had arrived in Singapore only two months ago.

“I apologise to the court, I don’t have the means to engage a lawyer. I’m sorry for what I have done, I was ignorant,” he said.

Likewise, Karmjit said he was not aware of the law and of committing the offence. He admitted to contravening the regulations. “I made a mistake without knowing,” he added.

Arpit, Sajandeep, Waseem and Sharma said that they would admit to the offence and not engage lawyers. Navdeep said that he wished to engage a Criminal Legal Aid Scheme lawyer, but intended to plead guilty.

Their plead guilty mentions have been fixed for 3 June.

If convicted of breaching the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, each faces a jail term of up to six months and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.

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