'Badge Lady' charged over not wearing mask for 15 minutes in Ion Orchard

Phoon Chiu Yoke is now facing a total of four charges in the latest case against her. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Phoon Chiu Yoke, who is better known to netizens as the "Badge Lady", is being accused yet again of not wearing a mask – this time for about 15 minutes while walking in a mall in Orchard.

On Friday, she was handed a charge under the Covid-19 (Reopening – Control Order) Regulations 2022 for walking in Ion Orchard without a mask on Aug 16, 2022, from 11.48am to 12.03pm.

Mask-wearing indoors in places such as malls was made optional only on Aug 29.

The 55-year-old, who was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail in 2021, is now facing a total of four charges in the latest case against her.

The other three charges were handed to her in September, including two counts of failing to wear a mask on March 6.

The first was for walking maskless along Mandarin Gallery in Orchard Road from 3.02pm to 3.04pm and the second was for walking past a nearby Victoria Secret outlet between 3.35pm and 3.37pm without a mask.

Wearing masks outdoors became optional only from March 29.

On March 31, she allegedly failed to turn up at the Singapore Tourism Board in Orchard Spring Lane as required by a health officer who was then conducting an investigation.

Details about this particular investigation were not disclosed in court documents.

Phoon first made headlines when she was caught on video not wearing a mask at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) integrated resort on May 15, 2021.

The clip, which went viral, showed her telling safe distancing ambassadors: "Who are you? Who are you representing? Where is your badge? Show me your badge."

Phoon left MBS without wearing a mask that afternoon and she was hauled to court later that month and handed five charges under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

After she was charged last year over her earlier offences, Phoon walked out of the State Courts building, removed her mask in front of members of the media and smiled.

On June 25 last year, Phoon was out on bail when she again failed to wear a mask, this time at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel. A security officer alerted the police to her antics.

A month later, she was charged over this incident. Her bail was revoked and she was taken into custody.

Phoon was given a 16 weeks' jail sentence last September after she pleaded guilty to nine charges.

In last year's proceedings, the court heard that she joined the Republic of Singapore Navy in 1990 and held the rank of a major before she retired in 2002.

For each charge currently against her, Phoon could be jailed for up to a year, fined up to $20,000 or both.

She is scheduled to return to court on Oct 14.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.