Man charged over hitting safe distancing ambassador’s hand when advised not to loiter

SINGAPORE - A man was charged in court on Saturday (April 18) with using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging her duty, after he allegedly hit a safe distancing ambassador's hand when he was advised not to loiter.

Jayseelan Ramachandran, 39, is also being investigated for two other cases of voluntarily causing hurt and breaches of Covid-19 safe distancing measures, police said on Saturday.

On April 12, police received a call for assistance regarding a dispute between a safe distancing ambassador and a man in Hougang Avenue 8.

Preliminary investigations showed the man had hit the safe distancing ambassador's hand, causing her phone to drop, when he was advised not to loiter in the area.

The man allegedly fled the scene after the assault.

Officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division established the man's identity and arrested him on Friday.

If found guilty as charged, he can be jailed for up to four years, fined, or both.

In their statement, the police said they have zero tolerance towards such acts of violence against enforcement officers and safe distancing ambassadors.

"Everyone should take the circuit breaker measures seriously, and cooperate and comply with the instructions of the enforcement officers and safe distancing ambassadors. They are performing an important duty to keep our population safe," the police said.

In a separate statement on Friday, the police said they have seen a rise in the number of abuse cases against the 3,000 officers and ambassadors deployed across the island daily to ensure individuals and businesses comply with circuit breaker rules.

As of Thursday, the police had received 12 reports of physical or verbal abuse against them, they said on Friday in a joint statement with the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

In a case on Wednesday, a 40-year-old man headbutted an enforcement officer who advised him to stop playing basketball in the cordoned-off Khatib multi-purpose hall.

In another incident, a 72-year-old man slapped an officer who asked for his personal particulars after seeing him consume food at a hawker centre in Circuit Road.

Investigations against the offenders are ongoing.

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