Man charged with breaching Stay-Home Notice to deliver newspapers

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UPDATE: A joint media release by MOH and ICA gave details on how Palanivelu Ramasamy allegedly breached his Stay-Home Notice.

SINGAPORE — A 48-year-old man was charged on Tuesday (7 April) for breaching his Stay-Home Notice (SHN) to deliver newspapers.

According to Palanivelu Ramasamy’s charge sheet, the Singaporean was given an SHN on 21 March this year by an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer. But he breached it on 30 March under the Infectious Diseases (COVID-19 Stay Orders) Regulations 2020 - the first person to be charged under the new rules.

He is said to have left his place of accommodation at Block 105 Towner Road and taken public transport to and from Goldhill Plaza where he went around to deliver newspapers.

Palanivelu told the court that he will be pleading guilty. His plea mention has been fixed for 16 April.

Not at residence on 30 March

According to a joint media release by the Ministry of Health and ICA on Tuesday night, Palanivelu had arrived in Singapore from India on 21 March, after spending about a month there.

Following the government’s announcement that all returning residents, long-term pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore would be issued a two-week SHN from 11.59pm on 20 March, Palanivelu was accordingly served with one upon his return.

On 30 March, as part of enforcement checks by the ICA, officers visited Palanivelu’s place of residence and allegedly found that he was not there.

Palanivelu had allegedly left his residence for some two hours to deliver newspapers, despite knowing that he was not supposed to.

He had allegedly walked to the bus stop, boarded a bus with other passengers, walked to Goldhill Plaza after alighting, and took a lift there to deliver newspapers to multiple units across different floors. He then walked to another bus stop and took a bus home.

Faces 6-month jail and/or $10,000 fine

The Regulation 4(2) of the Infectious Diseases (COVID-19 - Stay Orders) Regulations 2020, which came into force on 26 March, was targetted at curbing the spread of COVID-19 through individuals who were at risk and provided enhanced enforcement for breaches of Stay-Home notices.

Those who are deemed to be at risk will be given a 14-day Stay-Home Notice during which they must not leave their specified place of accommodation.

If convicted of breaching his Stay-Home Notice, Palanivelu may be jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000.

Members of the public can report information about those who fail to comply with SHN requirements to ICA at go.gov.sg/reportshnbreach or 6812 5555.

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