Coronavirus pandemic

Man who breached virus rules harassed, threatened officers

A recalcitrant offender hurled vulgarities at a police officer on April 14 after he unlawfully met a friend for a chat in Whampoa amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Four days later, Ravi Sinathamby Subramaniam verbally abused two public servants enforcing safe distancing measures. He also threatened to injure the pair and their colleague.

The 53-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty yesterday to two harassment charges and one count of threatening to cause grievous hurt to the three public servants who were then deployed as safe distancing enforcement officers.

Five other charges, including one count of failing to wear a mask over his nose and mouth, will be considered during sentencing on May 6.

The court heard that Ravi had been in and out of jail for earlier offences such as drug consumption and robbery.

Before this current case, he was last convicted in December last year for offences including using abusive language against public servants and assault. He was then sentenced to 16 weeks' jail.

Ravi did not learn his lesson shortly after his release, and on April 14 this year, he left his home to unlawfully meet a friend, who was not identified in court documents, near Block 74 Whampoa Drive at around 7pm.

Ravi was found drunk minutes later and started behaving in a disorderly manner.

The police were notified, and uniformed police sergeants Guo Junliang and Muhammad Shafiq Fazuli arrived soon after at a convenience store there.

When the officers interviewed Ravi, he turned aggressive, spoke loudly to them, tried to leave several times, and refused to cooperate, Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh said.

Ravi then hurled vulgarities at Sergeant Guo and was arrested that evening. He was later released but re-offended just four days later at Block 81 Whampoa Drive.

He was wearing a mask which covered only his chin when two safe distancing measure enforcement officers spotted him.

When one of them asked him to wear it over his nose and mouth, Ravi turned aggressive and abused her with vulgar language.

He committed a similar offence against the woman's male colleague who intervened, the court heard.

The woman then called for the police and Ravi entered a nearby convenience store. After he stepped out, he told the pair and a third officer: "The next time I see you, I will break your face."

Yesterday, DPP Koh said Ravi's conduct was "reprehensible" and urged the court to sentence him to at least 10 months' jail.

Shaffiq Alkhatib

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2020, with the headline 'Man who breached virus rules harassed, threatened officers'. Print Edition | Subscribe