SINGAPORE: Two men who took part in a social gathering at Robertson Quay during Singapore's "circuit breaker" period were fined on Tuesday (Sep 22) for flouting COVID-19 safety regulations.
On May 16, British nationals Daniel Olalekan Olasunkanmi Olagunju and Alfred Jon Veloso Waring were part of a group of people who met at the steps near Limoncello restaurant at 95 Robertson Quay to chat and drink alcohol.
The circuit breaker was implemented from Apr 7 to Jun 1 to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore. During this period, people who were not living in the same residence were not allowed to meet for any social purpose.
Olagunju, 30, was fined S$8,500 and Waring, 34, was fined S$8,000.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Colin Ng called for Olagunju and Waring to be fined at least S$9,000.
“This is warranted to reflect the seriousness of the accused persons’ actions and to deter like-minded offenders who place their personal interests over the public’s health,” Mr Ng and Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh said in their submission.
NOT WEARING MASKS, HAD MASKS PULLED DOWN
The court heard that Olagunju had met a woman who was sitting at the steps at about 3.47pm and started chatting with her, before leaving shortly after to buy drinks.
He returned and continued chatting to the woman and another woman who was with a child.
"The three of them continued to socialise there, with others joining and leaving the group at various points," said court documents.
At about 4.53pm, Waring joined the group. During the gathering, Olagunju and Waring left temporarily to buy water and beer, before rejoining them.
The group continued to chat and drink at the steps until about 6.43pm, when two safe-distancing ambassadors told them to disperse.
Members of the group, including the two men, did not observe safe distancing and were either not wearing masks or had their masks pulled down, Mr Ng said.
The prosecutor added that the two men were "undeterred" that their actions could cause "disquiet and alarm" to members of the public who were complying with circuit breaker rules. Their actions could also have caused the perception that the "law could be blatantly disregarded".
Defence lawyer Shiever Subramaniam asked for fines of S$7,000 for each man.
He said that there was no intention of breaking the law and described the gathering as a “chance meeting” that had gone "out of control".
Mr Ng countered that while there may have been no intentional breach of the regulations, this was discounted by how long the two had remained with the group.
Waring had stayed for one hour and 51 minutes and Olagunju had stayed in the area for two hours and 46 minutes, court documents showed.
For violating COVID-19 regulations, the men could have each been jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both.
Photos of people gathering at Robertson Quay went viral on social media on May 16. The Urban Redevelopment Authority later instructed some restaurants in the area to stop selling takeaway alcohol.