Two S'poreans, including man who allegedly went to eat bak kut teh, charged with breaching stay-home notice during Covid-19 outbreak

Alan Tham Xiang Sheng had posted on social media photos of his bak kut teh meal while he was supposed to be at home serving his 14-day notice. PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS, ST READER, SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Two Singaporean men have become the first people to be charged over allegedly breaching their stay-home notice (SHN) in separate incidents during this coronavirus outbreak.

Both of them appeared in court on Tuesday (April 7).

One of them, Alan Tham Xiang Sheng, 33, who is said to have posted photos of a bak kut teh meal he had after he returned from Myanmar, was charged with an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act.

As part of his notice, he was supposed to stay home at all times from March 23 to April 6. Tham allegedly went to different places islandwide between 3.40pm and 10pm on March 23.

He is said to have gone to a food centre at Terminal 3 of Changi Airport and Peninsula Plaza in North Bridge Road, as well as Kampung Admiralty Hawker Centre and NTUC FairPrice supermarket in Woodlands Drive 71.

The location of his home was not revealed in court documents.

The other man, Palanivelu Ramasamy, 48, was charged with an offence under the Infectious Diseases (Covid-19 Stay Orders) Regulations 2020.

He arrived in Singapore from India on March 21 after spending about a month there, and was served with an SHN.

On March 30, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers visited Palanivelu's home in Towner Road flat near Serangoon Road and found that he was not there.

According to a joint statement from the Ministry of Health and ICA, investigations showed that he had allegedly left his home for about two hours to deliver newspapers, despite knowing that he was not supposed to.

He was said to have taken a bus that had other passengers, walked to Goldhill Plaza after alighting, and taken a lift to deliver newspapers to units on different floors. He then allegedly took a bus home.

Both Tham and Palanivelu have indicated that they intend to plead guilty to their charges.

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They will be back in court on April 16.

If convicted, they can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

Separately, a couple from China were charged in February with giving false information to Ministry of Health (MOH) officials - lies which obstructed the process of contact tracing.

Hu Jun, 38, from Wuhan, and his wife, Shi Sha, 36, who lives in Singapore, were the first two people to be charged under the Infectious Diseases Act in relation to the current outbreak.

In an earlier statement, MOH said Hu arrived in Singapore on Jan 22 and was confirmed to be infected on Jan 31.

Hu recovered and was discharged from hospital on Feb 19.

His wife was identified as a close contact and issued a quarantine order on Feb 1, after the MOH initiated contact tracing to identify those who might have been exposed to the infected person.

The couple had allegedly given false information to MOH officials about their movements and whereabouts from Jan 22 to Jan 29, when they were contacted during the quarantine period. MOH was able to determine the couple's true movements only through detailed investigations.

Shi faces four charges under the Act while her husband faces one.

The couple will be back in court on April 24.

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