Man, 63, fined $3,500 for meeting friends to drink beer in public
Breaching safe distancing measures, he met up with friends in public to drink beer three times. And when approached by police officers, Ong King Hwa, 63, pulled his face mask over his eyes, pretending he could not see them.
Yesterday, Ong was fined $3,500 after pleading guilty to two charges for breaching safe distancing regulations during the circuit breaker period.
Another three similar charges were taken into consideration.
Ong met up with friends to drink beer at a stone bench outside Hao Supermarket at Block 74 Whampoa Drive on April 12, May 3 and 8.
The court heard that at about 8.50pm on May 3, patrolling officers spotted Ong with an elderly man sitting on the stone bench chatting and drinking beer.
MASK OVER EYES
When the officers approached the duo, Ong pulled his mask over his eyes, leaving his mouth exposed, and pretended to be unable to see the officers.
He eventually wore his mask properly after being told to do so by the officers.
On May 8, at about 6.30pm, another group of patrolling officers spotted Ong with another two elderly men at the same bench. The trio were chatting and drinking beer.
The officers who approached them noticed the three men were not wearing their masks properly.
They had worn their masks on their chin, exposing their noses and mouths.
Ong admitted he met up with his friends as he had nothing to do at home.
On compassionate grounds, the officers told the trio to pack up and go home, and that they would be back in five minutes to check.
When the officers returned five minutes later, the two elderly men were packing up and leaving.
But Ong refused to leave, took out his identity card and challenged the officers to "summon him".
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim said Ong was initially issued out-of-court composition fines of $300 and $1,000 on April 12 and May 3 respectively, but he did not pay the fines, which have lapsed.
He has past convictions for use of abusive language and using criminal force on public servants.
DPP Lim urged the court to fine him $3,500 and to send a clear deterrent signal to such recalcitrant offenders that such acts of defiance would not be tolerated.
If the fine is not paid, Ong will have to serve a week in jail as default.
For each count of breaching safe distancing regulations, he could have been jailed for up to six months, or fined up to $10,000, or both.