COVID-19: Man breached SHN to buy chicken rice, cigarettes

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
Singapore's State Courts seen on 21 April 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A 60-year-old man issued with a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at the Singapore Cruise Centre acknowledged it and then headed to a home different from the one where he had declared he would serve the SHN, a court heard.

The next day, Zahari Samat visited the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Building to inform officers that he was staying at a different address and to change the address on his identity card.

He was told to return home and remain there. But a week later, the perpetrator left home to buy chicken rice, mineral water and a packet of cigarettes.

At the State Courts on Wednesday (27 May), Zahari pleaded guilty to one charge under the Infectious Diseases Act.

Another count under the same Act will be considered when he is sentenced next Wednesday.

The prosecution is seeking a $5,000 fine.

Walked to ICA building

Before he arrived in Singapore, Zahari completed and submitted an online health declaration form on 31 March. He indicated his nephew’s address as his home address – this was also the address that was registered on Zahari’s identity card.

The perpetrator arrived at the Singapore Cruise Centre at about 10am on 1 April. An ICA officer briefed him on the requirements of his SHN and he acknowledged it. But Zahari then went to a home in North Bridge Road instead of the address which he had declared in his SHN.

The next afternoon, the culprit took a five-minute walk to the ICA Building and told two officers that he wanted to change the address on his NRIC and that he had provided a wrong address in his online declaration. He said he had just got an SMS from ICA asking him to report his location and only then realised his mistake.

The officers told Zahari to return to his North Bridge Road home and to remain there for the remainder of his SHN.

Left home for chicken rice

But on 8 April, Zahari left his home and walked to Textile Centre about 450 metres away to buy chicken rice and mineral water from a coffee shop. He then went to a provision shop near Block 467 North Bridge Road to get a packet of cigarettes.

Afterwards, he walked to the open-air carpark near Block 10 North Bridge Road where he was arrested by officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau at about 4pm. The court was not told why he was arrested.

For his offence under the Infectious Diseases Act, Zahari faces a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to six months’ jail.

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