Man who wanted to get married in China breached SHN to appeal to ICA

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
ICA Building. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Google Maps)
ICA Building. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Google Maps)

SINGAPORE — A man who returned from Batam and was placed on Stay-Home Notice (SHN) was desperate to travel to China to marry his girlfriend.

Ignoring his SHN, Ong Chong Kiat, 51, went to a meet-the-people (MPS) session in an attempt to meet his Member of Parliament (MP), and later travelled to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in order to appeal to be allowed to travel.

Ong, a Singaporean, was jailed for 25 days on Tuesday (8 June) after he pleaded guilty to two counts of exposing others to the risk of COVID-19 infection. Another two charges of a similar nature were considered for his sentencing.

His lawyer Alina Sim told the court that Ong was due to be married to a Chinese national, and was planning to leave for China upon his return from Batam on 24 March last year.

The wedding, scheduled for 5 April last year, did not happen. His girlfriend left him after he failed to go to China.

Ong, an IT consultant, was served an SHN on 24 March when he returned to Singapore from Batam. His SHN was to last until 7 April.

On 26 March, Ong left his residence despite having a sore throat and a cough. He went to Block 632 Hougang Avenue 8 in an attempt to see his MP in the MPS session, and seek the MP’s help to appeal to ICA so that he could travel to China. He did not manage to see his MP.

Ong then sought medical treatment at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for his sore throat and cough, travelling there via taxi. He was referred to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) instead and he took a taxi to the second hospital.

While at TTSH, he underwent an X-ray and a COVID-19 nasal swab test.

On 27 March, Ong again left his residence and took a Grab car to the ICA building, where he wanted to make the same appeal. He spoke to two ICA officers, telling them that he would be holding his wedding in China in five days' time. However, he had no documents to support his claim.

The two officers told Ong to continue serving his SHN and reminded him not to leave his residence. Ong returned home.

Three days later however, Ong left his residence to collect his swab test result at TTSH, even though TTSH had informed him of his result via SMS on 28 March. The result was negative.

After collecting his result, Ong again visited the ICA building to appeal to leave Singapore for China. He took a Grab car there and proceeded to the ICA's customer relations branch. He coughed to get the attention of an ICA officer there.

The officer, who was attending to another person, asked Ong to fill up a form while waiting. She later realised that Ong was the same person who had visited on 27 March despite serving an SHN. She immediately informed her supervisors, who asked her to usher Ong to an interview room.

Ong, while wearing a face mask, later showed the three officers who attended to him his COVID-19 test result and asked to be allowed to travel to China to get married. However, the officers said they could not allow his request and asked him to return home to finish his SHN. Ong complied, taking a Grab car home.

Ong could have been jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000 for breaching his SHN.

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