SINGAPORE - A woman, accused of not wearing a mask at Shunfu Mart near Upper Thomson Road was charged in the district court on Tuesday (May 5) with one count of being a public nuisance and three counts of violating Covid-19 rules.
Paramjeet Kaur, 40, who made headlines on Sunday after videos emerged of her claiming to be a “sovereign” when confronted at the market, allegedly failed to wear a mask when she was outside her home, as required by law, on more than one occasion.
Kaur was accused of failing to wear a mask over her nose and mouth when she went to a food stall in Upper Thomson Road at around 9.20pm on April 30.
She is similarly accused of not wearing a mask when she went to Shunfu Mart at around 12.20pm last Sunday.
That same day, Kaur is said to have caused annoyance to the public by shouting loudly and creating a scene at the market.
She also allegedly ate at a table in front of a stall at Shunfu Mart at around 9.30am on April 14, seven days after circuit breaker measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus here began on April 7. The measures include no dining at hawker centres.
Kaur was arrested on May 4. She is represented by lawyer Satwant Singh.
Appearing in court via video-link from the Central Police Division building with a mask across her chin, Kaur said: “I am a living woman and that is my only capacity in this matter. I extend my sovereign immunity to Satwant and I asked Satwant to represent me.”
In videos circulating online, the Singaporean, who was born here, can be seen claiming to be a “sovereign” while in a heated argument with passers-by.
“It means I have nothing to do with the police, it means I have no contract with the police. They have no say over me,” she says.
A man, who is off-screen, responds: “This doesn’t even make any sense. If you’re a person in Singapore, you have to follow the rules of Singapore.” But the woman replies: “That’s the thing – I’m not a person, I’m ‘we the people’.”
A report by Chinese evening paper Lianhe Wanbao on Tuesday quotes a woman who identified herself as Kaur’s mother saying that Kaur is a physiotherapist who had lived in Australia for 20 years before returning to Singapore last year. Kaur will be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health and will be back in court on May 19.
On Monday evening, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said in a Facebook post that he had "checked up" what Kaur might have meant by referring to "sovereign".
He said: "There is a movement in the United States, and adherents to that movement, (broadly speaking) reject Government, reject the police and any kind of authority... Such people should not live within society - she should not expect any of the benefits that come from this system of governance, including her security, medical care, other benefits."
Police said in a statement that officers arrested Kaur at around 9pm on Monday.
They added: "Everyone should take the circuit breaker measures seriously. The police will not tolerate such blatant disregard of the law and wilful breaches of safe distancing measures. Let us all do our part to curb the spread of Covid-19."
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.