SINGAPORE — A 39-year-old man who refused to wear a mask while travelling aboard an MRT train was arrested on Sunday (9 May).
According to local media reports, the man was arrested for causing a public nuisance and flouting safe-distancing measures.
A widely circulated video over the weekend showed the man, who appears to be Caucasian, debating with other commuters on an East-West Line train about his reasons for not wearing a mask.
"I will never wear a mask," he says at one point to another commuter who is off-screen.
As the seated man calmly delivers his explanation – which includes something to do with researching "Bill Gates" and hating to see "uncles, granddads in their masks" – another commuter steps up to offer the man a face mask.
This leads the man to retort, "I'm not going to f**king put that [unintelligible word] on my face." The man's actions also appear to cause the commuters seated next to him to leave their seats.
In a statement, SMRT Corp said a police report had been made over the incident.
"We do not condone socially irresponsible behaviour that affects the safety of others, and strongly encourage our commuters to keep their mask on at all times and avoid talking on trains," said SMRT Corp's chief communications officer Margaret Teo.
She also noted that SMRT staff would usually activate the officers from the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) security unit to deal with commuters who do not comply with instructions to wear their masks properly.
Police investigations into the case are ongoing. Those convicted of not wearing a face mask in public face a fine of up to $10,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both.
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