SINGAPORE — A woman who gained notoriety for refusing to wear a face mask in public during the circuit breaker while claiming that she was a “sovereign” above the law in two viral videos last year was on Friday (7 May) jailed for two weeks and fined $2,000.
Paramjeet Kaur, a 41-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty to two charges: failing to wear a mask over her nose and mouth outside her home and public nuisance.
Five other charges were considered in sentencing: three counts of breaching COVID-19 regulations and one charge each of failing to report a change in her home address to the authorities and failing to sign a police statement.
Kaur's jail term was backdated to 5 May last year, when she was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for two weeks after she was first charged in court.
Viral videos on social media
Kaur, a physiotherapist, breached COVID-19 regulations on the following occasions:
- eating without reasonable excuse at a table in front of a stall at Shunfu Mart and Hawker Centre at about 9.25am on 14 April last year
- failing to wear a face mask at a food stall at 236 Upper Thomson Road at about 7.45pm on 26 April last year
- failing to wear a face mask at a food stall at 236 Upper Thomson Road at about 9.15pm on 30 April last year
- failing to wear a face mask at Shunfu Mart and Hawker Centre at about 11.30 am on 3 May last year
In one of the viral videos in May last year, Kaur and a man can be seen holding onto a phone at Shunfu Hawker Centre.
She then argues with a person off-screen, claiming, “I am a sovereign. This is something people are not going to know even what it is…It means I have nothing to do with the police…They have no say.”
A voice can be heard saying, “That does not even make any sense. If you are a person in Singapore, you have to follow the rules in Singapore.” Kaur then replied, “I’m not a person.”
Kaur returned to Singapore last year after living in Australia for about 20 years, according to Lianhe Wanbao.
But it was not the first time the woman had caught the public eye.
The previous month, she was seen in another viral online video confronting and filming police officers and SG Clean ambassadors after allegedly breaching safe distancing measures, also at Shunfu Hawker Centre.
Law Minister K Shanmugam commented on Facebook in May last year that the incidents involving Kaur were an “odd case”.
According to the minister, the term “sovereign” referred to a movement in the US where adherents reject government, the police and any kind of authority.
Shanmugam noted that the woman should not live within society she rejects and expect any benefits that come from its system of governance, including her security and medical care.
For breaching COVID-19 regulations, Kaur could have been jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.
The maximum punishment for public nuisance is a fine of up to $2,000.
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