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Jail for man who made false declarations to opt out of serving stay-home notice at a dedicated facility

Jail for man who made false declarations to opt out of serving stay-home notice at a dedicated facility

People walk along the transit hall at Changi Airport, Singapore on Jan 7, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: A man who made false declarations so he could serve his COVID-19 stay-home notice at home instead of at a dedicated facility was jailed for three weeks on Monday (Jun 21).

Vijeyakumar Z Joseph, 58, returned to Singapore from Indonesia on Nov 25 last year.

The court heard that he twice made a false declaration about where he was travelling from - first online two days before he left Indonesia, then again on a physical form when he arrived in Singapore. 

READ: Man charged for making false declaration to opt out of serving stay-home notice at a dedicated facility after arriving from Jakarta

On the forms, he declared that he had travelled to several countries - Fiji, Finland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey in the 14 consecutive days prior to entering Singapore. At the time, travellers to these countries could opt out of serving their stay-home notice at a dedicated facility.

This was on the condition that travellers were staying in the place of residence alone, or with household members with the same travel history who were serving their stay-home notice for the same length of time.

However, Vijeyakumar, a surveyor at a construction company, lives with his brother and 90-year-old father who owns a flat in Ang Mo Kio, the court heard. His offence was uncovered three days into his stay-home notice. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor Bjorn Tan asked for Vijeyakumar to be jailed for a month, noting that he “clearly intended” to make a false declaration.

He was aware that he did not travel to those countries and he knew that his family was living in the flat at the time, Mr Tan added.

In mitigation, his lawyer said Vijeyakumar provides financial support to his elderly father and his brother who is on long medical leave after a traffic accident.

Vijeyakumar is also supporting a child and he stands to lose his job, said lawyer Amolat Singh.

He added that with hindsight, Vijeyakumar said that the facilities at a hotel were “far better” than at home.

When the officers went to the flat, Vijeyakumar cooperated with them fully, Mr Singh said. 

The court heard that his swab test for COVID-19 was negative, and that he did not go out during his stay-home notice period. 

In sentencing, District Judge Janet Wang said that there was a “considerable” measure of pre-meditation, given that Vijeyakumar had filled in a form online two days before departing Indonesia.

He then perpetrated the false information after landing in Singapore, she said.

He showed a “blatant disregard for authority” and “lack of remorse”, the judge added. 

Under the Infectious Diseases Act, Vijeyakumar could have been jailed for up to six months and fined up to S$10,000 for the first offence.

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Source: CNA/ja(gs)

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