Six weeks’ jail for man who breached stay-home notice for bak kut teh
A man who breached a stay-home notice (SHN) and left his home to eat bak kut teh on March 23 amid the coronavirus outbreak was sentenced yesterday to six weeks' jail.
Alan Tham Xiang Sheng, 34, who pleaded guilty on April 16 to an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act, is the first person to be convicted of exposing others to the risk of infection by breaching an SHN.
Before handing down the sentence yesterday, Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun said Tham's conduct was "socially reprehensible".
Tham, who runs an online sales business, arrived in Singapore from Myanmar on March 23 and was served with an SHN.
As part of his notice, the Singaporean was supposed to stay home at all times from then until April 6.
Instead of going straight home to his Woodlands flat, he met his 36-year-old girlfriend at 3.40pm and the pair went to a foodcourt at Terminal 3 of Changi Airport.
After eating, the woman booked a private-hire car and they went to Peninsula Plaza in North Bridge Road where Tham visited a money changer. The couple then took another private-hire car and arrived at his home at 6.35pm.
Later, they boarded a public bus for Kampung Admiralty Hawker Centre at Woodlands Drive 71 where he had bak kut teh. After that, the couple went to a nearby FairPrice supermarket, and Tham finally returned home at around 10pm.
On March 25, officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority visited Tham as part of an enforcement check where he told them that he did not proceed home immediately after being served the SHN.
Urging the court to impose a sentence of at least 10 to 12 weeks' jail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin said
Tham's offence is a "conduct crime", adding that the law is there "to prohibit socially irresponsible conduct regardless of whether any person is infected by the offender or not".
Tham's lawyer Josephus Tan pleaded for his client to be given either the maximum fine of $10,000 or up to two weeks' jail.
Tham is out on bail of $5,000 and was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on April 30 to begin his jail term.