2 fined for flouting Covid-19 circuit breaker measures at Robertson Quay, work passes revoked

Alfred Jon Veloso Waring (left) was fined $8,000, while Olagunju Daniel Olalekan Olasunkanmi was fined $8,500. The two British nationals flouted safety rules by gathering with others at Robertson Quay in May. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW
Alfred Jon Veloso Waring (left) was fined $8,000, while Olagunju Daniel Olalekan Olasunkanmi was fined $8,500. The two British nationals flouted safety rules by gathering with others at Robertson Quay in May. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

Two British nationals who flouted safe distancing measures during the circuit breaker period by gathering with others in Robertson Quay were fined yesterday.

Alfred Jon Veloso Waring, 35, and Olagunju Daniel Olalekan Olasunkanmi, 31, each faced one charge of breaching Covid-19 measures.

Olasunkanmi was fined $8,500, while Waring was fined $8,000. Both were represented by Mr Ramachandran Shiever Subramaniam.

The court heard that at 3.47pm on May 16, Olasunkanmi greeted a woman who was sitting on the steps near Rivergate Condominium. Another woman who had a child with her joined them soon after.

At 4.53pm, Waring arrived and joined them. Both men left and returned with beer and water repeatedly until 6.45pm when they were approached by safe distancing ambassadors.

The ambassadors found that those among the group either had their masks pulled down or were not wearing them. They also did not maintain a distance of at least 1m from one another.

In a reply to email queries from the Straits Times, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the ministry has revoked the work passes of both Waring and Olasunkanmi for breaching circuit breaker measures. In addition, both men have been permanently banned from working in Singapore.

"All work pass holders in Singapore must abide by the law, regardless of nationality and pass type," the spokesperson added. "MOM will not hesitate to take action against those who have been convicted of breaking the law, including revoking their work passes."

In a separate case, a group of seven others were also fined in June for meeting up in Robertson Quay on the same day. Six of them had their work passes revoked by the Ministry of Manpower and were banned from working here again. The ministry did not name them.

Four were each fined $9,000, and three were fined $8,000 each.

Pictures of crowds at Robertson Quay circulated on social media in May, showing people not keeping a 1m distance from one another at the riverside dining enclave.

Most of the people pictured were not wearing masks, while some had their masks lowered.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Timotheus Koh and Colin Ng asked for a fine of at least $9,000 for each of the two men, noting that their interaction with others was lengthy - about one hour and 51 minutes for Waring and two hours and 45 minutes for Olasunkanmi.

DPP Ng urged the court to give sufficient weight to the fact that the pair committed the act in "full view of the public" and were "undaunted and undeterred" that their actions would cause alarm to those adhering to safe distancing measures.

Mr Subramaniam sought a fine of $7,000 each. He argued that the gathering was a "chance meeting" and took place in one location.

Regarding Olasunkanmi, Mr Subramaniam argued that he was confined alone during the circuit breaker period, so when he chanced upon his friends, he "lingered".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2020, with the headline '2 fined for flouting circuit breaker measures at Robertson Quay'. Subscribe