SINGAPORE: A man who was stopped by a Ministry of Health (MOH) officer for not wearing a mask went to buy some before throwing and shoving them at the officer, hurling vulgarities at him.
For his actions, 30-year-old food deliveryman Muhammad Adimin Kemton was sentenced on Monday (Jul 13) to four weeks' jail.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of using criminal force on a public servant and another of using abusive words on a public servant. Three other charges, including failing to wear a mask when outside his home, were taken into consideration.
The court heard that Adimin was with a man and woman at a shop near Block 18, Upper Boon Keng Road at 5.10pm on Apr 26.
An enforcement officer from the MOH was patrolling the area with a safe distancing ambassador when they saw Adimin not wearing a mask.
They approached him and asked why this was so, and Adimin replied to say that he did not have a mask. He added that he was "only buying a few items" and would go home after this.
He also said that he would "just wear his friend's mask", but the MOH officer said this would mean that Adimin's friend would not have a mask to wear.
This angered Adimin, who started hurling vulgarities at the officers, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim. He "stormed off" and walked into a store to buy disposable masks.
He returned to confront the MOH officer and the safe-distancing ambassador with the packet of disposable masks.
He cursed at them and shoved a mask in the MOH officer's face, before charging towards the safe-distancing ambassador and throwing a used ice-cream popsicle stick at her.
It hit her left arm, and he picked up the stick, charged towards the woman and threw the stick at her again.
He was cursing throughout this time, the court heard.
After this, he threw the remaining disposable masks at the MOH officer's face while repeatedly cursing.
After this, Adimin left with his friends towards his home, continuing to shout vulgarities as he walked away.
ATTACKS WERE CONTINUOUS AND REPEATED: PROSECUTOR
The prosecutor asked for at least four weeks' jail, saying that the case underscores the need to protect the officers at the frontline during an unprecedented pandemic.
Adimin's attacks on the MOH officer were "continuous and repeated", and not minimal or with fleeting contact, said Ms Lim.
She said the dispute was "actually over" by the time Adimin bought the masks, with the officers not engaging him any further, but Adimin "relentlessly followed them".
He also continued his "verbal tirade" against them and escalated it by throwing objects at the victims.
One of the charges taken into consideration was for abusing the safe-distancing ambassador by throwing a used ice-cream stick at her, which Ms Lim called "very unhygienic".
Adimin said in his mitigation that his children have been under foster care and that he has "a lot of problems" and gets agitated easily because of simple matters.
For using criminal force on a public servant, he could have been jailed for up to four years, fined, or both.
For using abusive words on a public servant, he could have been jailed for up to 12 months, fined up to S$5,000, or both.