SINGAPORE — Twenty persons - 13 men and seven women - were each fined $3,500 on Monday (8 November), after they attended a countdown party involving 44 people on New Year’s Eve last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The men are: Qiu Haili, 27, Dylan Ang Jun Xiang, 23, Gerald Pang Pei Yi, 28, Hermen Cheong Zhen Qin, 27, Fabian Lim Zhuang Yu, 25, Javier Ang Kun Teng, 23, Sammy Lim Zhi Wei, 27, Khoo Yan Jie, 28, Samuel Tan Jia Hao, 26, Tan Siang Chuan, 34, Goh Jing Kiat, 24, Chong Jia Hao, 23, and Kevin Seow Xu Jie, 22.
The seven women are: Choo Han Yi, 26, Joey Pay, 27, Toh Jing Eng, 23, Koh Wei Jian, 24, Ho Hsien Ni, 31, Caroline Chua Cheng Fang, and Nicole Low Ming Mei, 24.
All 20 are Singaporeans.
Each pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving their residence to drink alcohol and chat with others, or to gather and chat with others, at a Tradehub 21 unit without reasonable excuse, which is in breach of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures)(Control Order) Regulations 2020.
A 24-year-old man, Muhammad Farhan Sazali, had rented the unit on behalf of Alex Sim Wang Yang, also 24. Sim used the unit as an illegal public entertainment outlet which played music and sold alcohol.
Promoted countdown party with alcohol in Tradehub 21 unit
In December last year, Sim promoted via word-of-mouth and through social media a countdown party with alcohol at the unit. The 20 accused persons and 24 others left their residences and arrived at the unit from the evening of 31 December last year in groups of up to six.
An operations manager at KH Security Agency was informed by his security team that there were groups of people seen entering and leaving the unit of Tradehub 21, which KH Security provides security services to.
Before 31 December last year, the operations manager was already informed by his security team of the same occurrence. He monitored CCTV footage and saw the number of people increasing. He called the police shortly after 1am on 1 January this year, informing of “people having disco” inside the industrial building.
The police arrived later and heard loud music played in the unit. The unit also smelt strongly of cigarettes with a karaoke system blaring music. The police observed that the unit was an office unit which had tables, chairs and sofas, with beer towers and alcohol.
The group of 44 persons were seen drinking liquor and chatting with no safe-distancing measures in place.
Fine warranted due to 'deplorable conduct', says prosecution
While Farhan has already been dealt with, the others will be dealt with separately.
The prosecution said that the fine was warranted as the accused persons’ “deplorable conduct (deserved) firm sanction especially given the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic".
“With a vast majority of the population putting in tremendous effort and making sacrifices to ensure that Singapore emerges from this pandemic with the smallest number of casualties possible, these accused persons’ selfishness and utter lack of civic-mindedness ought to be roundly chastised,” she added.
She noted that there was no safe-entry check in, which would have made it difficult to contact trace the accused persons should an outbreak have occurred.
Each accused could have been jailed up to six months, and/or fined up to $10,000.
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