Coronavirus: Man accused of not wearing mask allegedly spat at policeman

A man is said to have hurled vulgarities at a policeman and spat at another officer after he was allegedly spotted not wearing a mask over his nose and mouth while outdoors last Saturday amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Singaporean Pay Kiaw Keng, 60, was charged in court yesterday with one count each of harassment, using criminal force on a public servant, and an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.

He is accused of failing to wear a mask over his nose and mouth at the void deck of Block 644 Hougang Avenue 8 at around 9am last Saturday.

After he was caught and inside a police vehicle about an hour later, he allegedly hurled vulgarities at Sergeant Muhamad Danish Haikal Donny Budiarto Indarto.

Pay was at a lock-up at the Woodlands Police Division at around 10.30am when he allegedly spat on Special Constable Sergeant Muhammed Shariz Sazali's right arm.

Pay is said to have breached a remission order when he allegedly committed these offences.

He had served time behind bars for an earlier offence and was given an early release in December last year.

Court documents did not reveal details about his earlier jail term and offence.

As part of the order, he was not supposed to commit any more offences from Dec 28 last year to July 27 this year.

If convicted of these latest charges, he could spend an additional 87 days - the remaining duration of the remission order - behind bars.

For failing to wear a mask over the nose and mouth, a first-time offender 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.

Those convicted of using criminal force on a public servant can be jailed for up to four years and fined.

Pay will be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for a psychiatric observation, and his case has been adjourned to May 18.

To date, at least three Singaporeans have been dealt with in court over offences linked to the outbreak.

One of them, Alan Tham Xiang Sheng, 34, was sentenced last month to six weeks' jail for breaching a stay-home notice to have a bak kut teh meal on March 23, after he returned from a trip to Myanmar.

He was the first person to be convicted of exposing others to the risk of infection by breaching such a notice.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2020, with the headline 'Man accused of not wearing mask allegedly spat at policeman'. Print Edition | Subscribe