Jail for man who tried to extort money from MBS over alleged Covid-19 rule breach
A man who threatened to report to the authorities that he was allowed to dine at a lounge in Marina Bay Sands despite not being fully vaccinated has been sentenced to time behind bars for trying to extort money.
Goh Tian Shun, 30, had lied that he was fully vaccinated and after checks at the lounge showed he was not, Goh threatened to blow up the matter by alerting the media and authorities.
The incident happened in August 2021 during a period when only fully vaccinated people were allowed to dine-in at restaurants.
On Wednesday, Goh was sentenced to two years and two months’ jail and one stroke of the cane. He had pleaded guilty to one extortion charge and three charges for other offences including cheating.
The court heard that Goh had kicked up a fuss while at MBS on Aug 14, 2021.
To appease him, MBS’ food and beverage manager Barry Ng Pak Sen offered him a complimentary meal at the Ruby Lounge after Goh claimed he was fully vaccinated.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yanying said while Goh was eating later that night at about 1am, a staff member asked him again for his vaccination status. This was after a check revealed he was not fully vaccinated.
Mr Ng was alerted and approached Goh, who again lied that he was fully vaccinated.
Said DPP Tan: “When Barry informed the accused that the check via TraceTogether revealed otherwise, the accused became agitated and falsely alleged that the lounge was dirty.”
Goh eventually admitted he was not fully vaccinated but then said he wanted to file a complaint against MBS.
He eventually left the lounge. At about 5am, he told a shift manager at the integrated resort that the lounge staff had allowed him to dine there despite knowing he was “an unvaccinated person”.
Goh threatened to report the matter to the authorities and said he would provide them with video footage that he claimed to have.
Asked if there was a particular outcome he wanted, Goh demanded compensation for the purported $600,000 he had lost gambling at the casino there since 2018.
He said he was willing to settle the matter privately if MBS paid him $200,000 in chips and provided him with a permanent membership upgrade as compensation.
The shift manager said MBS would not compensate the gambling losses but added that the resort’s management would be notified of his request.
On Aug 16, 2021, Goh sent WhatsApp messages to various casino staff demanding compensation.
He said he would alert the media, and claimed he would get former photojournalist Jonathan Choo, who was with The New Paper, to interview casino staff.
Goh then sent messages to Mr Ng while pretending to be Mr Choo. At this point, Mr Ng notified his management of the matter and the police were alerted.
In the course of police investigations, Goh admitted that he had impersonated Mr Choo.
Goh was given the minimum jail sentence of two years’ jail for the extortion offence and one stroke of the cane. He could have been jailed for up to five years for the offence.