SINGAPORE: A man and a woman were each fined S$3,000 on Monday (Oct 25) for attending a 15-person gathering to celebrate Chinese New Year, which was more than the legally allowed limit of eight participants at the time.
Tey Zhi Yuan, 30, and Xiao Jing, 29, each pleaded guilty to one count of breaching the COVID-19 prohibition on social gatherings. A second charge of leaving their homes without reasonable excuse was taken into consideration.
The court heard that one of the participants suggested holding a Chinese New Year gathering while at a dinner on Feb 24 this year. Another participant suggested holding the gathering at his office at 1 Pemimpin Drive.
Those involved invited other guests in turn, and the group size ballooned to 15. Xiao arrived at the location at around 9pm that same day, while Tey arrived a few hours later.
The group sang karaoke, drank alcohol and played games. At about 2am on Feb 25, a security guard on duty at the building called the police saying there were many people in the unit, adding that he thought this was not the first time.
He also said that two people were in a vehicle outside keeping a lookout.
The police went down to the location and observed that loud music was coming from the unit. They knocked on the door and saw the participants inside playing games and singing karaoke.
There were no measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection, the prosecution said. At the time of the offence, the maximum group size allowed was eight as Singapore was in Phase 3 of its reopening.
The prosecution sought a fine of at least S$3,000 for both Tey and Xiao, who were the first of the group to plead guilty as they intended to leave the country.
The group had met for a frivolous reason, said the prosecutor, and were "very noisy". They knew that they were going to a group gathering, and "didn't take the measures seriously".
Neither Tey nor Xiao had anything to say in mitigation. The cases for the rest are pending.
For breaching a COVID-19 regulation, they could have been jailed up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both.