SINGAPORE: A man was arrested on Sunday (May 9) for allegedly causing a public nuisance and flouting safe distancing rules after refusing to wear a mask on an MRT train.
A video circulating on social media shows the man without a mask on a train on the East-West Line. Throughout the almost two-minute video, he could be heard telling another commuter why he did not want to wear a mask.
In response to queries from CNA, the police confirmed that a report was lodged and investigations were ongoing.
"The police arrested a 39-year-old man for allegedly causing public nuisance and flouting safe distancing measures in relation to the case," they said.
In the video, after other commuters appeared to have urged the man to put on a mask, he replied: "Just wear your mask, it's fine. I will never wear a mask."
The man then sat between two commuters, prompting a woman on his right to quickly vacate her seat.
"I'm very religious and I love human beings," the man said. "And I hate seeing uncles, granddads with the mask on."
The man could be heard on the video talking about how he has researched the issue of wearing of masks. The commuter on his left then got up too and appeared to tell fellow commuters not to engage the maskless man.
"(You're) just giving him attention," the commuter said.
Just past the one-minute mark of the video, another commuter offered the man a mask.
The man looked disgusted. "I'm not going to put that on my face," he said, using an expletive. The mask was left on the seat.
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SMRT said it made a police report about the incident.
“When our staff are alerted to such incidents, we would request commuters to wear a mask properly. If they do not comply, our staff would activate Transcom (Public Transport Security Command)," SMRT chief communications officer Margaret Teo told CNA.
"We do not condone socially irresponsible behaviour that affects the safety of others, and strongly encourage our commuters to keep their mask on at all times and avoid talking on trains.”
A woman who was caught on video refusing to wear a mask at Shunfu Mart last year was on Friday jailed for two weeks and fined S$2,000. Paramjeet Kaur, 41, had claimed to be a "sovereign" who was above the law.
Those convicted of not wearing a mask in public can be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$10,000 or both.
The police said people should take the safe distancing measures seriously.
"The police will not tolerate such blatant disregard of the law and wilful breaches of safe distancing measures," they said.