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4 men investigated for verbally abusing public workers, including bus captain and safe distancing officers

4 men investigated for verbally abusing public workers, including bus captain and safe distancing officers
Two men, aged 34 and 81, are under police investigation for allegedly using abusive language against safe distancing enforcement officers in August. (File photo: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources)

SINGAPORE: The police are investigating four men who allegedly used abusive language against a bus captain, two safe distancing enforcement officers and a police officer in four separate incidents in July and August. 

In the first incident on Jul 31, a 53-year-old man allegedly hurled vulgarities at a bus captain when he was asked pull up his mask, which had dropped below his nose. 

The man complied, but followed the bus captain back to the driver’s seat and scolded him, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a news release on Wednesday (Sep 8). 

The suspect is being investigated for using abusive language towards a public service worker and for non-compliance with safe distancing measures, the police said. 

The two incidents involving safe distancing enforcement officers (SDEO) took place on Aug 5 and Aug 12. 

An SDEO attached to the National Environment Agency was patrolling at Geylang Serai Market on Aug 5 when he spotted an elderly man who was wearing his mask below his mouth. 

The officer approached the 81-year-old and asked him wear his mask properly. “Instead of complying, the man allegedly hurled threats and vulgarities at the SDEO,” said the SPF. 

In the Aug 12 incident, an SDEO attached to the Singapore Food Agency was verbally abused by a 34-year-old man at a Whampoa Drive coffee shop. 

The man had interrupted the officer’s conversation about safe distancing measures with another patron to hurl vulgarities at her, police said. 

The SPF said both men are “assisting with police investigations” for using abusive language towards a public servant and the 81-year-old man is also being investigated for non-compliance with safe distancing measures. 

The fourth incident occurred on Aug 7, when a 51-year-old man had refused to wear a mask while inside a taxi. 

The man was “visibly intoxicated” and was not wearing a mask when the taxi driver picked him up, police said. 

The driver had repeatedly asked the man to pull up his mask and even offered him a new one, but the man refused. Officers called to the scene were also unsuccessful in persuading the man to put on a mask, said the SPF.

“The man instead hurled vulgarities at the police officers,” police said, without elaborating on who called them to the scene. 

They added that in addition to using abusive language towards a public servant and non-compliance with safe distancing measures, the man is also being investigated for causing annoyance in a public place while drunk. 

If found guilty of causing annoyance while drunk, the man could face a jail term of up to six months, a fine of up to S$1,000, or both if he is a first time offender. 

The offence of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards or to a public servant is punishable with an imprisonment term of up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to S$5,000. 

Those who are found not to be wearing a mask, or not wearing a mask properly outside their place of residence could be fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed for up to six months. 

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Source: CNA/vc(ac)

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