SINGAPORE: Mediacorp artiste Terence Cao Guohui and his guest were on Tuesday (Mar 2) charged with flouting COVID-19 regulations during a birthday party in October last year.
Cao, 53, breached the law by allowing 12 people who were not part of his household to enter and remain at his home on Daisy Road, near Upper Serangoon, according to court documents.
Lance Lim Chee Keong, 50, one of the visitors, breached the law by gathering with 12 other people not from his household.
Lim also invited three of the visitors to the party despite knowing that doing so would cause the gathering to exceed the permissible number, the court heard.
At the time of the offence, Singapore was in Phase 2 of its reopening, with a limit of five visitors allowed for households. Singapore entered Phase 3 on Dec 28, with up to eight visitors now allowed.
Both Cao and Lim were charged under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020.
The breach came to light in December last year after a reader contacted Shin Min Daily News about a photo of 13 people standing close together and not wearing masks.
The artistes in the photo were originally identified as Cao, Jeffrey Xu and Shane Pow. Mediacorp said later that a fourth artiste, 987FM deejay Sonia Chew, was also present at the gathering.
Local celebrities Julie Tan and Jeremy Chan were also seen in the photo.
Mediacorp said in a statement that it takes the matter "very seriously" and that it cooperated with authorities for the investigation. The company "does not condone" the actions of the four artistes, a spokesperson said.
"The company has conducted an internal review and disciplinary actions will be taken," the spokesperson added.
"The artistes deeply regret and take responsibility for their actions. They apologise for the mistake and assure everyone that this will not happen again."
Cao is represented by lawyer S S Dhillion while Lim is represented by lawyers Josephus Tan and Cory Wong.
If convicted, both face fines of up to S$10,000 and up to six months in jail.
The 11 other guests have each been fined S$300, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said in a press release last month.
"In deciding to issue them a composition fine instead of prosecuting them, the level of their culpability in relation to the breach was taken into account," a spokesperson said.
An advisory has also been issued to the management of the condominium where Cao lives to remind it to ensure that safe management measures are complied with, BCA added.