Man jailed over carpooling service during circuit breaker period

The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A sales representative who unlawfully used his car to provide carpooling services during the circuit breaker period was on Friday (12 March) jailed for three days and fined $1,800.

Ng Chiang Huat, 53, will also be banned from driving for one year.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to three charges: ferrying passengers for a fare without a public service vehicle licence, ferrying passengers without insurance coverage for third-party risks, and leaving home without reasonable excuse during the circuit breaker in contravention of the the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.

About the case

Ng was a member of the Telegram group SGHitch. In April last year, during the circuit breaker period, which was imposed to control the spread of COVID-19, the group was renamed COVID-19 Lockdown SGHitch.

On 23 April, at about 9.55am, Ng posted a message in the group which said, "Driver looking for Pax". He was looking for passengers to pick up in the Choa Chu Kang area and to drop off in the "city area". A minute later, he accepted a prospective passenger's request to be dropped off at Plaza Singapura for a fare of $12.

Ng picked a male and female passenger at about 10.20am and they paid him $12 via PayNow after they got in the vehicle.

At about 10.45pm, a Land Transport Authority enforcement officer stopped Ng's car at Handy Road. Ng told his passengers to lie that they were his relatives before they alighted.

When asked about the passengers, Ng lied to the officer that they were his family members. But he could not name them when queried further and admitted to ferrying them for a fare.

For his breach of the circuit breaker control order, Ng could have been fined up to $10,000 and also jailed up to six months.

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