Singaporean First Person To Be Charged For Breaching 14-Day SHN, Says He “Already Explained Everything”
Late last month, a 34-year-old Singaporean returned from Myanmar and was slapped with a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN).
But instead of staying home, he went out for bak kut teh at a local hawker centre.
On Tuesday (7 Apr), he was charged for flouting his SHN, and is facing up to 6 months’ jail.
Posted picture of bak kut teh on social media
Alan Tham Xiang Sheng returned from his trip on 23 Mar and was given instructions to stay home until 6 Apr, according to Channel News Asia (CNA).
However, shortly after his arrival in Singapore, he posted a status update declaring he was “feeling fantastic” at Kampung Admiralty, along with a picture of a piping hot bowl of bak kut teh, stating: “Come back to Singapore must eat our local food.”
While we’re glad that he’s so supportive of our local food, the Singaporean was called out for his irresponsible act online.
Viral post spoken about in Parliament
His post garnered much attention, and was even mentioned in Parliament by Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam on 25 Mar.
On the same day, the minister also announced that the government would be taking legal action against those who breached their SHN.
Thus, thanks to his hot bowl of hot soup (with meat), Tham landed in hot soup.
Pleads guilty, says he already explained everything
Although the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) had served him with a warning, the Singaporean appeared in court on Tuesday (7 Apr) for his hearing after completing his SHN.
When the judge asked him for his course of action, he was quoted by Channel NewsAsia as saying,
I plead guilty to this, because I already explained everything but it’s like… they don’t take what I’m trying to say.
He may have been referring to the Straits Times report where he claimed that he thought the SHN notice started the day after he returned — despite the ICA noting that the SHN clearly states it begins on the day he arrives in Singapore.
He became the first person to be charged for such an offence under the Infectious Disease Act with regard to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Though he got to satisfy his cravings for bak kut teh, he is now facing a potential jail term of up to 6 months and a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Taking the rules seriously
Singapore is known for our strict laws and great enforcement abilities.
It is hence no surprise that they are investigating people who are breaching their SHNs and quarantine orders thoroughly, to deter potential carriers from spreading the virus in the community.
Such stringent measures will ensure that transmissions are minimised, helping us reduce community spread in Singapore.
As such new circuit breaker rules kick in, do take them extremely seriously and abide by them closely.