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Four charged with COVID-19-related offences from leaving house without valid reason to cursing at social distancing ambassador

Four charged with COVID-19-related offences from leaving house without valid reason to cursing at social distancing ambassador

Sethu Selvaraj (left), Karthigayen Balasubramaniam and Rajalakshmi Sukomaran are seen outside the State Courts on Apr 29, 2020. (Photos: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Four people were charged in court on Wednesday (Apr 29) with coronavirus-related offences ranging from cursing at a social distancing ambassador to leaving the house without a valid reason.

Rajalakshmi Sukomaran, 36, was charged with leaving her Ang Mo Kio home at 6pm on Apr 19 for a purpose that is not prescribed under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020.

Under the regulations, a person may leave his or her home only for specific reasons including to carry out essential work, buy food and groceries, obtain medical treatment that is either COVID-19-related or of a pressing nature, attend a funeral, exercise, report for enlistment or report to a law enforcement officer.

Charge sheets did not specify why Rajalakshmi left her home. The judge adjourned the case to next week and noted that the court should monitor if Rajalakshmi pays her composition fine for other similar offences.

Indian national and Singapore permanent resident Sethu Selvaraj, 43, was charged with a similar offence.

Sethu is accused of leaving his home in Petir Road at 5pm on Apr 19 without a valid reason.

He also has two other pending charges of molesting a woman and wrongfully restraining her in June 2019.

Abdul Halim Adi, 48, was charged with using abusive words against a social distancing ambassador.

He allegedly shouted a Hokkien expletive at the public servant near Hougang Mall at about 1.15pm on Apr 14.

He intends to plead guilty and will return to court to do so on May 13.

The fourth person, 32-year-old Karthigayen Balasubramaniam, was charged with two counts under the Protection from Harassment Act of cursing at two people at the basement of Our Tampines Hub on Apr 12.

The court heard that the incidents arose from an argument over face masks, purportedly at NTUC FairPrice.

Karthigayen is accused of swearing at two people there between 8.30am and 8.41am on Apr 12. 

He told the court that he did not use abusive language on anyone, but said: "There was argument due to face masks, it's true. But I didn't scold anyone."

He will return to court for a pre-trial conference in June. If convicted of using abusive words, he can be jailed for up to six months, fined a maximum S$5,000 or both. He may face enhanced punishment as he was previously convicted of a similar offence, charge sheets stated.

For cursing at a public servant, Abdul Halim can be jailed for up to a year, fined a maximum S$5,000 or both.

The offence of leaving your home without a valid reason during the circuit breaker is a maximum jail term of six months, a fine of up to S$10,000 or both.

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Source: CNA/ll

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