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Phoon Chiu Yoke, jailed last year for breaking COVID-19 laws, gets new charges for not wearing a mask

Phoon is accused of failing to wear a mask along Mandarin Gallery and outside Victoria’s Secret in Orchard Road.

Phoon Chiu Yoke, jailed last year for breaking COVID-19 laws, gets new charges for not wearing a mask

Phoon Chiu Yoke arriving at the State Courts on Sep 7, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: A woman who was jailed last year for breaking multiple COVID-19 regulations was brought back to court on Wednesday (Sep 7) for fresh charges of failing to wear a mask when required.

Phoon Chiu Yoke, 55, received three new charges on Wednesday. Two are for breaching COVID-19 regulations by failing to wear a mask when it was required and one charge is under the Infectious Diseases Act for not complying with an officer during investigations.

She is accused of failing to wear a mask over her nose and mouth along Mandarin Gallery in Orchard Road at about 3pm on Mar 6. A second similar charge states that she did not wear a mask outside Victoria's Secret in Orchard Road about half an hour later that same day.

Phoon is also charged with failing to attend an investigation for not wearing a mask. She was supposed to be at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Mar 31 this year.

STB said in March this year that investigations were ongoing after influencer Xiaxue, or Wendy Cheng, posted an Instagram Story in March of Phoon walking along Orchard Road without a mask on.

On Wednesday, Phoon turned up unrepresented. The prosecution said that they are ready with the case and intend to proceed on a mask charge and the charge of failing to attend the investigation, with the other mask charge taken into consideration for sentencing.

Phoon asked if he could explain what taken into consideration means and told the judge she would "probably be self-represented".

She also said she intended to "plea with mitigation factors". Phoon will return to court for a pre-trial conference in October.

Phoon hit the news last year when a video of her not wearing a mask at Marina Bay Sands went viral. She was filmed removing her mask outside the State Courts and received another charge for this.

She was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail in September last year.

On Mar 29, wearing a mask outdoors in Singapore was made optional. That was extended to indoor areas - except on public transport and in healthcare facilities - on Aug 29.

If convicted of failing to wear a mask when required, Phoon could be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$20,000 or both as a repeat offender.

The penalties are the same for a repeat offence of not complying with an officer during investigations under the Infectious Diseases Act.

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Source: CNA/ll(mi)

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