Man breached SHN and left home because he wanted to travel to China to get married

Ong Chong Kiat had pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching his stay-home notice.
Ong Chong Kiat had pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching his stay-home notice.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - An IT consultant who breached his stay-home notice (SHN) as he wanted to fly to China to marry a woman there was on Tuesday (June 8) jailed for 25 days.

Ong Chong Kiat, 51, had pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching his SHN.

The court heard that he was issued an SHN after returning from Batam on March 24, 2020. He was to stay home till April 7.

But at about 7pm on March 26, he left his home in Hougang as he wanted to see his MP at a Meet-the-People Session.

He wanted to get help to appeal to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) so he could travel to China.

Ong did not get to see his MP and later took a taxi to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), where he did a swab test and had an X-ray done.

He claimed he reached home by 9pm the same day.

The next morning, he again left his home and took a private-hire car to the ICA building in Kallang, even though his swab test results were not yet confirmed.

He told two ICA officers that he wanted to fly to China as he had plans to hold a wedding there in five days.

The officers told him to return home.

On March 30, Ong took a private-hire car to TTSH to collect his swab test results, despite having been notified by the hospital via SMS two days earlier that he had tested negative for Covid-19.

He then returned to the ICA building in an attempt to file an appeal.

While waiting his turn, he coughed to get the attention of the customer relations officer and was ushered to an interview room, where he showed three officers his negative result.

The officers told him the ICA could not accede to his request to fly to China.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lai Yan had urged the court to jail Ong for four weeks, saying that Ong's offences were committed around the start of the circuit breaker period and a firm stance should be taken.

But defence lawyer Alina Sim asked instead for a low fine or probation, or a mandatory treatment order if the court was looking to jail him.

She told the court that Ong has had serious mental disorders since 1992, owing to him seeing his father ending his own life.

She added that her client was desperate to marry the woman in China.

Ms Sim said the woman had put pressure on Ong to turn up, but has since left him as he could not marry her.

For each count of breaching his SHN, Ong could have been fined up to $10,000, or jailed for up to six months, or both.