Since the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act was passed, there’ve been numerous cases of people breaking the law, knowingly or unknowingly. And yes, while we’ve exited the circuit breaker and many shops, restaurants and businesses are back in action, it doesn’t change the fact that safe distancing rules still apply, and probably will for quite some time in this new normal.
From the bak kut teh cravings to the Robertson Quay incident, here’s a lookback at almost 30 Covid-19 related offences that have made the headlines.
Main photo: visuals/Unsplash
#1: $300 fines for residents who used condo facilities during the circuit breaker
Residents at four condominiums at Amber Road, Irrawaddy Road, Flora Road and Sims Drive, and one condo management company were fined for breaching Covid-19 regulations, including using the gym and pool in April during CB when condo facilities were meant to be shut.
Penalty: Residents were each fined $300. The condo management at Amber Road was fined $1,000.
#2: 6 people fined $600 to $2,000 for late-night cycling gathering
Six Singaporean youths, aged 14 to 20, were fined for flouting safe distancing measures on Apr 16. They had been out cycling and gathered at Lor Halus Bridge at about 2am.
Penalty: Fined between $600 and $2,000.
#3: $1,500 fine for man who left home 30 minutes before quarantine ended
A 22-year-old Singaporean financial advisor broke his quarantine order (QO), 30 minutes before it was due to end. He’d left his Choa Chu Kang flat to have breakfast at a neighbourhood shopping mall.
Penalty: Fined $1,500.
#4: $2,000 fine for construction worker who breached QO to go to bank
In February, a 50-year-old Chinese national broke quarantine to go to a bank. The man, who’s a construction worker, had been issued a quarantine order (QO) after being in contact with someone infected with Covid-19. However, he’d received texts from DBS about unauthorised transactions on his account that he did not make, and called the bank to enquire. But he did not understand what was said over the phone, and left his dormitory to go to the bank, only to find out that the branch was no longer there.
Penalty: Fined S$2,000.
#5: $3,500 fine for man with repeated Covid-19 offences
A 63-year-old Singaporean man left his home three times in April and May to drink beer and socialise with friends. He had been issued a $300 fine the first time, and a $1,000 fine the second.
Penalty: Fined S$3,500.
#6: $3,500 fine for Indian national who breached quarantine
A 35-year-old Indian national, who was under QO, left his Sengkang flat to go to a mall to buy a shaver for work the next day in February.
Penalty: Fined S$3,500.
#7: Man fined $3,500 for cursing at safe distancing officer
A 48-year-old cleaner at Hougang Mall was charged with using abusive words at a safe distancing officer. The officer had spotted the man’s wife loitering outside Hougang Mall on Apr 14, and had repeatedly told her to go home. The woman had been waiting to hand a headscarf to a customer, despite non-essential businesses not permitted to operate during CB. When she approached her husband in the mall, said officer spotted her again and told her to go home, but instead, was met with the man who hurled Hokkien expletives at him.
Penalty: Fined S$3,500.
#8: $4,000 fine for flight attendant who breached her stay-home notice (SHN)
A 25-year-old Singaporean flight attendant breached SHN on Mar 30, and had left her Woodlands flat to buy cigarettes and groceries.
Penalty: Fined $4,000.
#9: $4,000 fine, revoked work permit for man who invited friend to house for drinks
A 23-year-old Malaysian man had invited a friend over to his Yishun home for drinks during CB on Apr 19, and later rode his motorcycle while drunk to send his friend home.
Penalty: Fined S$4,000, work permit revoked, and banned from driving all vehicles for two years.
#10: Up to $4,500 fine for gathering to study in apartment
Ten students from India, aged 20 to 33, were charged for unlawful gathering, after they’d met to study together in a three-bedroom rented apartment in Kim Keat on May 5. An altercation that ensued in the flat during this time led to the police getting alerted.
Penalty: The two male tenants were fined $4,500 each, while the rest faced fines from $2,000 to $3,500.
#11: $4,500 fine for man who posted about his unlawful dinner gathering at home during CB
A part-time private-hire car driver, 38, posted on Facebook about a dinner gathering at his cousin’s home on Apr 8, a day after CB measures kicked in. He captioned: “After a long long long long super long day... we are having a (sic) illegal gathering... so what? Enjoy the food to the max.” The post went viral soon after.
Penalty: Fined $4,500.
#12: $4,800 fine for man who appeared drunk in public, dented police car with head
A 24-year-old Filipino restaurant employee met with five colleagues for a drinking session during CB. Police approached the Singapore PR, who appeared to be drunk, and as they were trying to get him to enter the police car, he banged his head twice on the vehicle, causing two dents. He also hurled expletives at police officers.
Penalty: Fined $4,800.
#13: $5,000 fine for woman who met boyfriend and friend
A 30-year-old Singaporean woman had left her house on Apr 12 and 17 to meet her boyfriend at the void deck of his block. On the latter occasion, her boyfriend, aware of the restrictions, tried to send her home after passers-by began looking at the couple. On Apr 29, the woman met a friend at the void deck of her block and went to a supermarket to buy snacks together. The meeting lasted about one-and-a-half hours.
Penalty: The woman was fined $5,000, while her boyfriend was issued a notice of composition, or a fine without going to court.
#14: $7,000 fine for providing massage and masturbation services in condo unit
A 38-year-old woman from China was fined for letting a 51-year-old man into a condo residence in May for massage and masturbation services.
Penalty: Fined S$7,000.
#15: Fines of up to $9,000, work permits revoked for those involved in Robertson Quay incident
Seven people who had gathered in Robertson Quay on May 16 were charged for breaching safe distancing laws, after police were alerted to the incident when a photo of the gathering had gone viral.
Among them are four Britons, aged 30 to 38, who were fined $9,000 each. They’d run into each other at a bar in the vicinity, bought alcoholic drinks there and at two more bars nearby. They chatted, drank and smoked at the final location for 25 minutes before leaving.
A 45-year-old Austrian/Singapore PR, and two Americans, aged 40 and 52, were fined $8,000 each. The trio had run into each other in the area (two were out exercising and one was walking his dog) and bought drinks from a bar and chatted for 32 minutes before leaving.
Penalty: Other than the fines ranging from $8,000 to $9,000, six of them also had their work passes revoked by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and were banned from working in Singapore.
#16: $22,000 fine for woman who provided sexual services in beauty salon during CB
A 55-year-old Singaporean beauty salon owner was the first to be charged with continuing operations of a non-essential business during the circuit breaker. She’d breached the rules to provide massage and sexual services to a customer on Apr 10. Police were alerted by a resident who’d spotted a customer entering the premises.
Penalty: Fined $22,000.
#17: 2 weeks’ jail for newspaper vendor who breached SHN to work
A 48-year-old newspaper vendor was jailed for breaching SHN to deliver newspapers in Goldhill Plaza. He had left his Towner Road flat on Mar 30 after he received a complaint about his co-worker who had not delivered the newspapers.
Penalty: Two weeks' jail.
#18: 4 weeks’ jail and fine for man caught drinking at void deck
An unemployed Singaporean man, 44, was caught drinking alcohol at a void deck on Mar 29. He was also not wearing a mask. He did not cooperate with the NEA officer who’d asked for his particulars, and pushed his hand away before leaving.
Penalty: Sentenced to four weeks' jail and a fine of $1,500.
#19: 4 weeks jail for man who breached SHN to meet friend to settle loan shark debt
A 32-year-old Singaporean man, who was a guarantor for a friend who had borrowed money from a loan shark, breached his stay-home notice in March to meet his friend to settle the matter. This was after he heard from the loan shark that the debt had not been paid. The friends got into an altercation, which led to him calling the police.
Penalty: Jailed for four weeks.
#20: 4 weeks’ jail for man who left flat five times during SHN to exercise
A 64-year-old Singaporean man flouted SHN after returning from Batam, and had left his Jalan Sultan flat five times from Mar 23 to 29 to exercise. He did not wear a mask on these occasions.
Penalty: Sentenced to four weeks' jail.
#21: 4 weeks’ jail for American pilot who breached SHN
A 44-year-old American commercial pilot breached a stay-home notice when he left his hotel room on Apr 5 and spent about three hours outside, taking public transport and shopping in a mall.
Penalty: Sentenced to four weeks' jail.
#22: 4 weeks’ jail for man who let woman into his hotel room during SHN
A 37-year-old Singaporean man serving his SHN at a hotel after returning from Thailand on Mar 26 was charged for letting a woman into his hotel room twice on Apr 1 and 4, and meeting three other people at the basement car park on Apr 6. He admitted in court that he did so “as he was bored”.
Penalty: Sentenced to four weeks in jail.
#23: 4 weeks’ jail and fine for kayaking to Pulau Ubin
Three Singaporean men, aged 36 to 38, were charged for multiple offences when they kayaked from Pasir Ris Park to Pulau Ubin on Apr 13 to camp and fish there. They arrived at Chek Jawa Wetlands and started two fires without the necessary permits.
Penalty: Sentenced to four weeks jail and fined $700 to $1,500 each.
#24: 5 weeks’ jail for man who flouted SHN rules twice
A 47-year-old Singaporean man, who was on a SHN after he returned from Batam, left his Bukit Batok home on two occasions in March to buy food.
Penalty: Five weeks' jail.
#25: 6 weeks’ jail for man who breached SHN to run errands, have bak kut teh
A 34-year-old Singaporean man breached his stay-home notice (SHN) on Mar 23, following his return from Myanmar. He’d met his girlfriend for a meal, went to Peninsula Plaza to change his leftover Myanmar currency, and left his house later that evening to have bak kut teh and shop for groceries. He uploaded pictures of his outing on social media, drawing flak from his friends. He was the first to be sentenced for breaking Covid-19 regulations in Singapore.
Penalty: Six weeks in jail.
#26: 6 weeks’ jail for man who persistently reported for work despite SHN
A 27-year-old Singaporean breached Covid-19 rules in March and reported for work for three days during his SHN, which was issued to him after he’d returned from Batam. He works as a security officer in Marina Bay Sands.
Penalty: Jailed six weeks.
#27: 4 months jail for man who spread fake news about food outlet closures
In mid-April, a 40-year-old taxi driver posted on a Facebook group fake news about food outlet closures in Singapore. The message read: “Got intel say sg will proceed with more measures in place come this Saturday. Food courts coffee shop all to close. Supermarkets will only open two days a week. Better go stock up your stuff for the next month or so. Govt officials in meeting yesterday and will finalize measures tomorrow." He had posted it knowing that the information was false.
Penalty: Jailed for four months.
#28: 23 weeks’ jail for man who left house during CB to steal underwear
A 39-year-old man was sentenced to jail for leaving home on multiple occasion, including once on Apr 15 during CB, to steal underwear. The thefts took place between Apr 2018 and Apr 2020. He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of theft, criminal trespass, unauthorised access to computer material and breaching Covid-19 regulations.
Penalty: 23 weeks' jail.