Man jailed for trying to bribe police officer into not taking action against him for COVID-19 breach
SINGAPORE: A man was jailed for four weeks on Friday (Oct 23) for offering a bribe to a police officer so that enforcement action would not be taken against him for breaching a COVID-19 regulation.
He had been repeatedly caught with his mask pulled down improperly, so that he could smoke or talk on the phone.
Chen Long, a 28-year-old China national, admitted to one count of corruptly offering S$50 to a public transport security command officer at Boon Lay MRT station on May 7.
The court heard that Chen was working for a company providing laundry services to hotels at the time of the crime.
At 6pm on May 7, a patrol team of public transport security command officers under the Singapore Police Force spotted Chen near the smoking corner at Boon Lay MRT Station.
His mask was pulled down and covering only his neck and chin, against the required COVID-19 regulation that said people must wear masks over their noses and mouths outside of their homes.
Investigations revealed that Chen had finished his work and had pulled down his mask to smoke a cigarette and drink a can of beer.
The patrol team gestured to him to put on his mask properly, and Chen complied, but the team returned 10 minutes later and saw Chen talking on his phone with his mask pulled down.
As this was the second time they saw him in breach of the law, they approached him and conducted a check. They found that while Chen had a valid work permit, it appeared that he was not working for an essential service provider.
They detained Chen and took him to an isolation room in Boon Lay MRT station, where an officer interviewed him about whether he was allowed to work that day.
Growing restless, Chen asked the officer how long the interview would take and claimed he had something important to attend to.
Chen opened his wallet, showed the officer the money inside, and offered S$50 to let him go.
Realising that Chen was trying to bribe him, the officer immediately signalled to him to stop by putting his hands up in the air and asked him if he admitted that he was trying to bribe him, to which Chen said yes.
When the officer told Chen that bribery is a serious offence in Singapore, Chen kept quiet thereafter.
Another officer later interviewed Chen and asked what he was going to do with the S$50 note. Chen said he wanted the team to take the money to buy some drinks and stop checking on him.
For offering a bribe under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chen could have been jailed for up to five years, fined up to S$100,000, or both.
The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said in a statement after the sentence that those caught trying to bribe their way out of COVID-19 related offences will face further punishment under the law.
CPIB said Chen was give a S$300 composition fine for his breach of COVID-19 regualtions, and commended the officer for rejecting the bribe.