Man with TB who fled from quarantine jailed 6 months

Mohamed Zaini Parman left Tan Tock Seng Hospital's Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) without permission on May 23, 2014 and was detained and taken back on Jan 24 last year.
Mohamed Zaini Parman left Tan Tock Seng Hospital's Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) without permission on May 23, 2014 and was detained and taken back on Jan 24 last year. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - A 54-year-old man who was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) thrice absconded from quarantine, a court heard.

Mohamed Zaini Parman even resorted to giving false particulars to policemen to evade going back to isolation.

On Tuesday (Sept 13), he was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to two charges: leaving a place of isolation while under treatment under the Infectious Diseases Act, and giving false information to the police.

Three other related charges were taken into consideration in sentencing.

A district court heard that Zaini was first diagnosed with TB on Jan 3, 2014 at Changi General Hospital (CGH).

He was referred to the Tuberculosis Control Unit for treatment, but failed to turn up for his appointment on Jan 13 and remained uncontactable thereafter.

A notice was issued on March 18, requiring him to report for medical examination and treatment, under the Infectious Diseases Act. But, still, he did not comply.

On May 8, he was served with an isolation order, requiring him to be detained and isolated at Tan Tock Seng Hospital's Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) until the completion of his treatment.

But he absconded from the premises thrice.

He left the CDC without permission on May 23, 2014. He was caught and taken back on Jan 24 last year (2015).

However, at about 8.30pm the very next day, he fled again by climbing out of his ward window.

On June 3 last year, policemen on patrol at Bedok Reservoir Road spotted him trying to avoid them. When asked for his particulars, he gave them wrong information. But a staff sergeant recognised him and Zaini was arrested and taken to CGH, and transferred to the CDC the next day.

Two weeks later, on June 19, he fled again.

Officers from the Ministry of Health managed to find him only on March 4 this year.

As they were detaining him, Zaini threw something down from the second floor corridor.

Police later found the object to be a photocopy of another person's identity card, but with Zaini's photo on it.

Medical reports showed that Zaini was still infectious when he absconded on May 23, 2014 and on Jan 25 last year. And he had a high bacterial load before he absconded on June 19 last year.

The maximum punishment for leaving a place of isolation without permission under the Infectious Diseases Act is a $10,000 fine and six months' jail for a first conviction, and a $20,000 fine and 12 months' jail for subsequent convictions.

The maximum penalty for giving false information to a public servant is one year's jail and a $5,000 fine.