SINGAPORE — Three men and a woman pleaded guilty and were sentenced on Wednesday (20 May) for either breaching their Stay-Home Notices (SHN) or quarantine orders.
One man had left his house to buy a shaver a day before his quarantine order was to end, while another had visited a friend to settle a money-related issue.
Foo Ching Guan
Foo Ching Guan, 32, was jailed for four weeks after he pleaded guilty to one count of breaching his SHN. The Singaporean had returned from Thailand on 17 March and was issued an SHN to last until 31 March.
The court heard that Foo, who is unemployed, stood as guarantor for a friend, Lee Quan Hui, four months ago and was asked by the unlicensed moneylender to settle the loan by 28 March. Lee had said that he would settle the loan, but did not.
The loanshark called Foo, threatening to disturb his family. Foo was concerned that his mother, who recently had a stroke, would be alarmed.
On 29 March, at about 4am, Foo decided to visit Lee at Sengkang Central via a Grab car transport. He did not wear a mask as he set out of his house. After meeting Lee, the duo had a heated argument in which Lee punched Foo’s head.
At about 5am, Foo called the police for assistance, and revealed to the police officers that he was on an SHN and had just returned from Thailand. Foo then flagged a taxi to go home. He had remained outside his residence for some two hours.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Ti-Ting sought seven weeks’ jail, stating that Foo had no reason to have to look for his friend at 4am that morning.
Foo, who was unrepresented said, he chose to go at 4am as it would be “less crowded”.
“I did not go anywhere else, I went directly to his house, the illegal moneylender sent someone to check out my place I have no choice but to approach (my friend), And my mother just had a stroke and cannot give her another blow, I wanted to go to this place to settle this matter,” he said.
Vardireddy Nageswara Reddy
Vardireddy Nageswara Reddy, a 35-year-old Indian national, was fined $3,500 after he pleaded guilty to breaching his quarantine order.
Vardireddy was issued a quarantine order after he came into a contact with a colleague he knew as Moses, who had tested positive for COVID-19. He was issued two quarantine orders – from 16 to 20 February, 12pm, and from 16 to 25 February, 12pm – in which he was to remain in his flat at Compassvale Close.
A day before his quarantine order was to conclude, Vardireddy left his rented room to go to CompassOne Shopping Mall to buy a shaver, as he was scheduled to return to work on 25 February and did not want to appear untidy.
He did not want to shave the next day as he believed it was inauspicious for Hindus to shave on Tuesdays. As such he went to a shop called Venus Beauty at the mall and bought a shaver. He left his house at about 8.10pm and returned some 20 to 25 minutes later.
A few minutes after Vardireddy left his unit, an auxiliary police officer appointed by Certis Cisco visited the residence and was let in by the landlord, who informed him that Vardireddy was not around, after a short search.
The officer waited for 15 minutes but Vardireddy did not return in this time. Vardireddy’s landlord told him about the visit upon Vardireddy’s return.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Regina Lim sought a $6,000 fine for Vardireddy.
“Despite being given quarantine order, he deliberately breached order for no good reason except that he was eager to return to work clean shaven,” said the DPP, adding that Vardireddy could have asked someone else to buy a shaver for him or gone to a less crowded destination.
Unrepresented, Vardireddy said that he had tested negative for the virus and felt that “the risk of spreading virus is very low”. He added that he had worn a mask when he left his house.
Siti Wan Su’Aidah Samsuri
Siti Wan Su’Aidah Samsuri, 25, was fined $4,000 after pleading guilty to breaching her SHN, with another similar charge taken into consideration for sentencing. The Singaporean had returned from Australia on 25 March and was served with an SHN valid until 8 April.
However, instead of remaining in her Woodlands residence, the former flight attendant left on 30 March to buy groceries with her husband at a supermarket. She also went to a minimart to buy cigarettes.
She was outside of her house, without a mask, for 15 to 20 minutes. When she returned home, enforcement officers were waiting outside her residence and a police report was made.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani sought a $4,000 fine, pointing out that Siti’s husband could have bought her groceries on her behalf.
Mitigating in person, Siti said, “At that point of time the Government said that if you are not feeling unwell you shouldn’t wear a mask, that is why I did not wear a mask.”
Siti pleaded for a lighter fine, stating that she had been let go from her job and had two young children.
“I just started my part time job. I also like to apologise I know it was a mistake,” she said.
Teo Say Leong
Teo Say Leong, 64, was jailed for four weeks after he admitted to one count of breaching his SHN. Another four counts of a similar nature were considered for his sentencing.
The Singaporean was issued an SHN after he returned from Indonesia on 20 March. His SHN was effective from 20 March to 3 April. He had also arranged for a friend to deliver food to him daily.
However, on 29 March, Teo went to a coffeeshop to buy food without a reasonable excuse, leaving his residence at Jalan Sultan. After purchasing his food, Teo went to an open area to consume his food. He did not wear a mask.
When he returned home at 1.57pm, enforcement officer were present outside his residence and later lodged a police report.
Teo had also left his residence between 6am and 8am daily from 23 to 26 March to exercise for around an hour each time.
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