4 weeks' jail for man who used co-worker's TraceTogether token, tried to bribe him to flee Singapore

The man received the Sinovac vaccine but his TraceTogether token did not reflect his vaccination status. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A man used his co-worker's TraceTogether token to gain access to malls as he was vaccinated against Covid-19 in China and his own token did not reflect his status.

But when the accused stopped returning his co-worker's calls about the token, the co-worker reported him to the police.

Yang Fei, 27, then tried to bribe his co-worker with $100 in cash and a pack of cigarettes to flee to Malaysia so as to hamper investigations.

Yang, a Chinese national, was sentenced on Friday to four weeks' jail after he pleaded guilty to a charge of committing an act that has a tendency to obstruct the course of justice.

The court heard that Yang, who is currently unemployed, came to Singapore on a work permit on Sept 24 last year and worked at semiconductor supplier Fuxiang Technology.

He was inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine before arriving here, but his TraceTogether token did not reflect his vaccination status.

This was because he did not go to a healthcare provider to take a serology test and update his vaccination records in the National Immunisation Registry.

As a result, Yang was not allowed to enter any premises where vaccination-differentiated safe management measures were in place.

On Dec 14 last year, Yang met his co-worker Wan Meng, a 19-year-old Chinese national.

They wanted to enter the shopping area of Marina Bay Sands so Yang used Wan's TraceTogether token while Wan used the TraceTogether app on his phone.

On multiple occasions in December last year, Yang also used Wan's token to enter Hougang One shopping mall to get his meals.

When Yang stopped returning his calls, Wan lodged a police report saying that his co-worker had taken his token.

Yang was interviewed by the police on Dec 24 last year. He was told that he was being investigated for possible offences of cheating by personation.

Shortly after, Wan suggested to Yang that they both run away and the duo met in Hougang.

There, Yang tried to bribe Wan with $100 in cash and a pack of cigarettes to escape to Malaysia, saying, "Singapore authorities have no authority over you once you exit Singapore, you get to Malaysia right, two governments".

Yang lamented that he had brought his passport to the police station for his interview and his passport had been impounded. He also said he "pretended to be pitiful" when his statement was recorded.

Wan refused to escape as he believed he had not broken the law. He said Yang was the one who had falsely used the TraceTogether token and "if anyone should run to Malaysia, it should be Yang".

Yang then foisted the money and cigarettes onto Wan and told him that if one of them was missing, investigations could not proceed.

Yang also said that if the police found him again, he would tell them that he could not contact Wan.

But without Yang realising, Wan had recorded their conversation on his phone and immediately went to the police station to report the matter.

On Jan 11 this year, Yang lied to the police that the $100 was given as a loan. He added that he gave Wan the cigarettes as Wan needed to smoke.

He even claimed that his grandmother was ill and in critical condition in a hospital in Jiangsu.

In sentencing him, District Judge Lim Tse Haw said though the harm intended by the accused did not materialise, it was not due to Yang withdrawing the offer but because Wan had refused to accept it.

Wan will be dealt with at a later date.

For committing an act that has a tendency to obstruct the course of justice, an offender can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.

Correction note: This article has been updated for accuracy.

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