Man charged with posting fake 'intel' on COVID-19 measures on Facebook

Man charged with posting fake 'intel' on COVID-19 measures on Facebook

man on computer
File photo. (Photo: Unsplash/Charles Deluvio)

SINGAPORE: A 40-year-old man was charged on Monday (Apr 27) with posting a fake message about purported new COVID-19 measures on Facebook.

Kenneth Lai Yong Hui is accused of posting a message that claimed he "got intel" that Singapore would "proceed with more measures" from "this Saturday".

The message, which was posted on a Facebook page named Taxiuncle, added that food courts and coffee shops would purportedly close and that supermarkets would open only two days a week.

"Better go stock up your stuff for the next month or so. Govt officials in meeting yesterday and will finalize measures tomorrow," he wrote.

Fake covid message
The false message posted on Facebook about purported COVID-19 measures. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

Lai posted this message sometime before Apr 20, the charge sheet stated, just before Singapore extended its "circuit breaker" period.

Singapore implemented a circuit breaker period to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country on Apr 7. It was originally scheduled to end on May 4, but was extended last week to Jun 1.

Safe distancing measures have also been tightened, with hairdressers, pet supply stores and standalone outlets selling beverages and desserts told to close.

Food courts, coffee shops, supermarkets and wet markets remain open, although entry restrictions have been imposed on four popular wet markets.

The police had said in a statement on Monday morning that they will not hesitate to take action against anyone who transmits or communicates falsehoods. 

"Members of the public should refer to official sources for information and avoid spreading unsubstantiated information or false rumours, as these may cause fear and public alarm," said the police.

Lai will return to court to plead guilty on May 27.

For transmitting a message he knew to be false, he can be jailed for up to three years, fined a maximum S$10,000, or both.

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Source: CNA/ll

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