Coronavirus: Roadblocks to ensure safe distancing? Police video debunks 4 rumours

A traffic police officer wearing a face mask is seen at Bedok Reservoir Park carpark.
A traffic police officer wearing a face mask is seen at Bedok Reservoir Park carpark.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - To debunk fake news circulating about police operations in the current circuit breaker period, the police released a video on Thursday (April 16) to address the matter.

Their two-minute video, titled Facts Vs Rumours: Stop Spreading False Rumours On Police's Actions, details four untruths making the rounds on social media and messaging apps since the circuit breaker measures came into force on April 7.

The police also urged people to comply with safe distancing measures and not spread false information.

"Police resources are vital to maintaining law and order in Singapore, not spent on debunking false rumours," the police said in the video.

The four falsehoods are:

Rumour #1: Police have set up roadblocks to enforce safe distancing measures

The police were said to have stopped cars at the roadblocks and issued fines of $300 to drivers and passengers whose ICs did not show the same home address, according to a viral message.

Fact: The police said they have not conducted roadblocks specifically to enforce safe distancing measures.

Instead, the roadblocks are for general law enforcement purposes, such as to detect drink driving or wanted persons. However, if officers come across people flouting the safe distancing measures, the police will take enforcement action.

Rumour #2: Police have arrested a man for not wearing a mask in a Toa Payoh pharmacy

In a widely circulated video, the police were seen arresting a man creating a ruckus in a Guardian pharmacy outlet on Monday afternoon. Netizens later speculated that the man was nabbed because he did not abide by circuit breaker measures, like following safe distancing rules or wearing a mask.

Fact: The man was arrested for shop theft and disorderly behaviour, said the police. However, those who do not wear a mask outside of their homes can be fined $300, they added.

 
 

Rumour #3: Police will arrest those who flout safe distancing measures

This rumour arose from a viral video that shows a man shouting at two police officers, telling them not to touch him. It shows the police handcuffing him.

Fact: The police said the man was arrested under the Destitute Persons Act for failing to return to a welfare home where he lives. The man had sat on a bench that was cordoned off, and refused to leave the area despite repeated warnings by safe distancing ambassadors and the police, according to an earlier police statement.

The police have not arrested anyone for flouting the social distancing measures, the police said in their video.

 
 

Rumour #4: Police carry out random checks on people's homes to enforce safe distancing measures

They were said to be doing it to ensure only family members or the unit's registered residents were present. In one such viral message, a couple claimed they were given a written warning after police turned up at a family member's home and found the couple were at the gathering for non-essential purposes.

Fact: The police said they were at the unit after receiving a phone call asking for help over a family dispute. Officers then found the couple were there for non-essential purposes and issued them a warning letter.