SINGAPORE — A co-organiser for a marketing event involving mostly influencers aboard a yacht was fined $7,000 on Tuesday (28 September) after failing to ensure that the group did not intermingle.
Lim Tian Yi, 36, was one of two persons who had organised the marketing event for Anaya Retreat brand, which involved photography, and candle and essential-oil making sessions on the yacht in November last year, when COVID-19 rules limiting group numbers to five individuals were still in force.
The other organiser is Lin Pei Ju, while others involved are Damian Tan Kar Sheng, 27, Sean Tan, 29, Titus Low Kaide, 22, Walter Soh Yon Zheng, 24, Nicholas Joel Leong, 26, Kuek Zi Yi, 32, Audrey Chen Ying Fang, 29, Chai Ann Gie, 28, Nicole Chen Lin, 34, Monica Tang Yifei, 34, and Wang Zhiruo, 24. Lim and Lin were with the influencers during the event.
According to the prosecution, the others involved have been issued composition fines, while Lin’s case is still pending before the courts. She has been charged and will return to court for a further mention on 11 October.
Lim, a Singaporean director of a tech company, pleaded guilty to one count of carrying out work while not being permitted enterprise worker at a place outside of his residence.
An individual who is not a permitted enterprise or a permitted enterprise worker must not carry on any work in any premises other than at the individual’s place of residence, and must not involve meeting any other individual in person.
Another two charges of failing to wear a mask and for gathering with 12 others without a reasonable excuse were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Lin, who was a partner of the Anaya Retreat brand and the manager of the Panama-flagged yacht “SUNONE”, worked together with Lim to promote the brand through a marketing event.
They co-organised the event to promote the brand, with Lim agreeing to bring influencers aboard the yacht, while Lin would teach them how to make candles and essential oils. Lim then tasked Nicole Chen to invite fellow influencers.
Each participant understood that photos of the event would be taken and uploaded on social media for marketing purposes. Lin had also obtained the yacht owner’s consent for the event, which was to be held on 18 November last year.
The influencers arrived at around 3pm on that day and met with Lim and Lin at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. Before the event, the group had a briefing where they were asked to split into two groups – comprising six females in one, and five males in the other – and reminded to wear their masks unless they were eating or drinking.
Each group then took turns to be involved in the photo-taking session on the upper deck while the others had the candle and essential oil making session on the lower deck of the yacht.
During the activities, the influencers did not wear masks. Though each had a cup of water in front of them, they were not continuously drinking and were engaged in their sessions, said the prosecution.
Eventually, the group mingled, consumed food from a buffet and took photos together, without regard to safe distancing measures.
Lim later uploaded photos of the event on social media for promotion purposes. Authorities received complaints about the photos from a member of the public, and began their investigations.
Mitigating in person, Lim told District Judge Lorraine Ho that he was remorseful and pleaded for leniency in the matter. He said he understood that the other influencers had been fined $300, with Lim himself paying the fine for some of them.
“In this matter and I should have been more careful and taken COVID-19 regulations, followed them more closely. I take responsibility and will make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Lim said that an influencer in the group had wanted to bring along 10 people, and asked if it was allowed. He then asked Lin, who said that splitting the group into two was fine. All in the group had also signed in at the Yacht Club before the event.
“We really tried to plan to make sure that it’s two groups so that we don’t have too many people in one group,” he said. He added that posting the photo of 12 persons was a “slip of the mind”.
DJ Ho said that it was the responsibility of the organisers to ensure that the event did not violate COVID-19 rules, and photos of the event showed that the rules were not complied with.
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