Man jailed for leaving flat 5 times to exercise despite stay-home order after Batam trip

Man jailed for leaving flat 5 times to exercise despite stay-home order after Batam trip

Teo Say Leong
Teo Say Leong at the State Courts on May 20, 2020. (Photo: TODAY/Ili Nadhirah Mansor)

SINGAPORE: After returning to Singapore from Batam, a man was issued a stay-home notice but defied it and left his flat five times to exercise. 

For his actions, 64-year-old Teo Say Leong was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Wednesday (May 20).

Teo pleaded guilty to one charge of breaching his stay-home notice, with four other counts of exposing others to the risk of infection taken into consideration. He told the court in Hokkien that he needed to exercise as he had previously suffered a stroke.

The court heard that he returned to Singapore from Batam on Mar 20 and was issued a 14-day stay-home notice.

Teo acknowledged receiving the notice and knew he had to stay in his Jalan Sultan flat at all times. He watched the news on television and saw that people serving stay-home notices must not leave their homes.

He got a friend to deliver food to him daily during the 14-day period from Mar 20 to Apr 3.

Despite this, Teo left his house on five days - on Mar 23, 24, 25, 26 and 29. He did not wear a mask on any of these occasions.

On the first four days, he left the house after 6am and spent about an hour outside each time.

He did not venture far from his home, leaving either to exercise or to buy food, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh.

Just after 1pm on Mar 29, Teo went to a nearby coffee shop to buy food and ate at an open area. 

He returned home 51 minutes later to enforcement officers at his flat.

READ: Man charged with leaving home 5 times while on stay-home notice

Teo admitted that he had left his flat to exercise before the fifth occasion, but lied at first that it was only for 15 minutes each time. He also claimed that he had worn a mask.

However, police camera footage revealed that he was away from his home for between 51 minutes and one hour and 12 minutes, and did not wear a mask.

He later admitted that he was the person in the footage and said he left his home for about an hour daily between Mar 23 and Mar 26 to exercise by walking in a nearby park.

NO GOOD REASON TO LEAVE HOUSE: PROSECUTION

The prosecutor asked for at least four weeks' jail, noting that Teo "had no good reason to leave the house to buy food as he had already made arrangements for food to be brought to him".

"Moreover, instead of returning home immediately, the accused decided to consume his food downstairs," said Ms Koh.

She added that Teo had been untruthful during initial investigations, attempting to downplay his culpability.

"The accused breached his stay-home notice on no less than five occasions," said Ms Koh. "He essentially continued until he was caught red-handed by enforcement officers on the fifth occasion."

It could be inferred that he "simply did not take the stay-home notice seriously and would have continued flouting it", she added.

Teo, who was unrepresented, asked for leniency through an interpreter. He said he was "not well".

"I was a stroke patient before, I have to exercise," he said in Hokkien. "I have admitted my fault."

He could have been jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both for breaching his stay-home notice.

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Source: CNA/ll(gs)

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