Man with suspected Covid-19 jailed for breaching stay-home order to deliver food, dealing with weapons

SINGAPORE - A Deliveroo rider breached his stay-home order after he was suspected to have Covid-19, and made three food deliveries on his motorcycle.

The Singaporean, who has a long history of drug-related offences, was also linked to a parcel of illegal weapons that included stun devices, knuckledusters and a sword.

Luqmanul Hakim Mohamed Taha, 32, was on Monday (Jan 17) jailed for 12 months with six strokes of the cane after he was convicted of four charges for offences that include flouting Covid-19 rules and dealing with weapons.

Another six charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during his sentencing.

The court heard that the food delivery rider was diagnosed with an upper respiratory tract infection on May 22, 2020, after he reported ill with a fever and a cough.

Luqmanul was suspected to be infected with Covid-19 and was ordered to stay at home for five days, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ang Siok Chen told the court.

He left the clinic to withdraw money after being shown the bill, but did not return to collect his medicine or medical certificate as he had no money to pay, said DPP Ang.

The clinic could not contact him and reported the incident to the authorities.

The next day, Luqmanul left his home and made three food deliveries on his motorcycle to Deliveroo customers in the evening.

"(Luqmanul) exposed others he had come into contact with to the risk of infection with Covid-19, when he had reason to suspect he was a case or carrier of the disease," said the prosecution.

The court also heard that Luqmanul had ordered illegal weapons that were found by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) at Changi Airfreight Centre on Nov 27, 2020.

An ICA officer found in a lorry a parcel from China containing seven stun devices, 11 knuckledusters, nine truncheons - known as night sticks - and a concealed sword.

Investigations showed that Luqmanul would contact a man called Low Peng Chen through Telegram when he wanted to order such weapons.

Low told the police that Luqmanul was the main buyer of the weapons that Low had ordered and both men were arrested after the weapons were seized.

Court documents said that Low was earlier jailed for 19 months with six strokes of the cane and fined $11,000 for dealing with weapons.

Luqmanul also evaded urine checks by asking his cousin to submit nine fake medical certificates to the hospital, said DPP Ang, who sought a sentence of 13 months' jail and six strokes of the cane.

He had been in and out of jail for past offences that include drug offences, weapons possession and robbery, the prosecution added.

In his mitigation plea, Luqmanul told the judge that he had changed while in remand and asked for leniency. District Judge Tan Jen Tse backdated his jail sentence to account for his time spent in remand.

For possessing offensive weapons, Luqmanul could have faced a maximum sentence of three years' jail and at least six strokes of the cane. For flouting a stay-home order, he could have been sentenced to a maximum of six months' jail and fined $10,000.

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