Coronavirus: Three men charged with offences including unlawfully camping at Chek Jawa

(From left) Rizani Sham Mohamed Hussin, Mohamed Hafiz Mat Nadar and Zulman B. Mashonain each faces two charges under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act. ST PHOTOS: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Three men appeared in a district court on Monday (May 18), charged with unlawfully paddling in kayaks to Chek Jawa wetlands park on Pulau Ubin and setting up camp there amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rizani Sham Mohamed Hussin and Zulman Mashonain, both 38, and Mohamed Hafiz Mat Nadar, 36, each faced two charges under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

In addition, Rizani and Zulman faced six charges each under the Parks and Trees Regulations, while Hafiz faced five.

The three Singaporeans allegedly committed the offences after leaving their homes at around 6pm on April 13 and met one another at Pasir Ris Park Carpark E about an hour later.

The trio were accused of entering the Chek Jawa wetlands park zone in kayaks later that evening.

Court documents described the area as a "no entry" zone that has been closed to all watercraft and people since Oct 1, 2007.

One can enter only with prior approval from the National Parks Board (NParks).

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Each man was accused of setting up a shelter and a hammock at the park without the approval from the commissioner of parks and recreation.

The trio were also accused of lighting a campfire and unlawfully camping in the area until around 10am the next day without permits from the commissioner.

Rizani and Zulman were also said to have used rods to catch fish at the park without the commissioner's approval.

Court documents state that a fishing rod was considered a "hunting device".

On Monday, Rizani told the court that he had earlier been stopped by an NParks officer and was told that fishing was not allowed.

He added: "We told him we are going to Pulau Ubin for the activities... He did not advise further. If he had done so, we would have cancelled the activities."

Rizani also said they did not see any signs stating that such activities were not allowed there.

All three men are expected to plead guilty to their charges on June 3.

For each charge under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, first-time offenders can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000.

Offenders convicted of unlawfully entering the Chek Jawa wetlands park zone without prior approval from NParks can be fined up to $2,000.

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