SINGAPORE: A 30-year-old man has been arrested after a 55-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted and subjected to racial slurs while walking along Choa Chu Kang Drive last week.
The man, who is of Chinese ethnicity, was arrested “for public nuisance, uttering words with intent to wound the racial feelings of others and voluntarily causing hurt”, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said on Tuesday (May 11).
The woman, who is of Indian ethnicity, was walking along a walkway at Choa Chu Kang Drive at about 8.45am on May 7 when she was confronted by a Chinese couple to wear her mask properly, the SPF said in a news release.
“She purportedly got into a verbal exchange with the man. The man allegedly uttered an offensive racial remark and assaulted her, causing her to fall to the ground,” the police said.
The couple then left the scene and the woman was assisted by a member of the public.
Investigations are ongoing, said the police.
The case had prompted comments on Facebook from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and several other ministers on Monday. Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam also spoke in Parliament on Tuesday about the incident.
If found guilty of public nuisance, the man could be jailed for up to three months, fined up to S$2,000, or both.
For uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of any person, the punishment is an imprisonment term of up to three years, a fine, or both.
The offence of voluntary causing hurt carries an imprisonment term of up to three years, a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.
"The police take a serious view of such acts that have the potential to damage racial harmony in Singapore," said SPF.
"Any person who makes remarks or takes action that can cause ill-will and hostility between the different races will be dealt with swiftly and in accordance with the law," it added.