Man charged with lying to NTU researcher about having Covid-19

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man was charged on Monday (May 17) with lying to a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) researcher that he could not attend a "session" as he had been quarantined after testing positive for Covid-19.

Paul Chan Kin Nang, 40, was handed one charge of transmitting a false message under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act to NTU researcher Lau Zen Juen.

Chan had allegedly sent an e-mail to Ms Lau at 12.47pm on Sept 6 last year stating: "Hi, I am unable to attend the session tomorrow as I am tested positive for Covid19 (sic) and is now quarantine in hospital."

The e-mail address Chan had allegedly sent the false message to was listed in a post on an NTU Psychology Majors Facebook group in July last year, calling for volunteers to participate in a study involving magnetic resonance imaging.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, an NTU spokesman said Chan is a member of public who was a volunteer participant in a social science study conducted at NTU.

After he informed the researchers that he could not attend a research session as he had allegedly tested positive for COVID-19, the spokesman said the university promptly checked with the authorities due to the need for contact tracing.

"When his claim was found to be false, a police report was made. He is no longer participating in the study," the spokesman added.

The offence of communicating a false message is relatively new - it was added to the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act in January last year.

If convicted, Chan can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $10,000.

Chan is expected to return to court on June 14.

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