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4 men investigated for alleged abusive behaviour against enforcement officers, breach of COVID-19 restrictions

4 men investigated for alleged abusive behaviour against enforcement officers, breach of COVID-19 restrictions

File photo of a safe distancing enforcement officer armband. (Photo: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources)

SINGAPORE: Four men are being investigated for alleged abusive behaviour against safe distancing enforcement officers from the National Environment Agency (NEA) in separate incidents, said the police on Tuesday (Nov 2). 

The first incident took place on Sep 15 when the police received a call for assistance over a commotion at Teck Ghee Market and Food Centre. 

A safe distancing enforcement officer had observed a dispute between a group of three men and a couple. The officer intervened and advised them to end their dispute, and informed the three men that they should not be dining in a group of three. 

A 24-year-old man who was part of the trio purportedly "reacted aggressively" and began hurling vulgarities at the officer. He also allegedly flung a bowl of noodles towards the officer, staining his clothes. The officer did not sustain any injuries. 

The police said the man was arrested for using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty and for using abusive words against him. The man and his two friends are also being investigated for breaching safe distancing measures. 

In the second incident, police received a call from a safe distancing enforcement officer on Oct 1.

The officer told the police that a 30-year-old man had behaved aggressively against his partner while they were performing enforcement duties at Golden Mile Food Centre. 

He had observed one of the man's friends moving across three tables that were occupied and advised him against doing so. 

The man's friend allegedly did not comply with the advice, which led to the officer asking for his details to take enforcement action. The man then intervened to defend his friend and allegedly hurled vulgarities at the officer.

"(He) is presently assisting with investigations for using abusive words against a public servant," said the police, adding that his friend is being investigated for breaching safe distancing measures. 

The third incident happened on Oct 2 at Sims Vista and Food Centre.

The police were informed that a 61-year-old man had threatened a safe distancing enforcement officer with a beer bottle while he was performing his duties.

The officer had observed that the man's mask was worn below his nose and advised him to pull up his mask. The man allegedly ignored the advice and walked away. The officer approached the man again, but this time, the man reacted aggressively by hurling vulgarities at him. 

He also allegedly picked up a beer bottle and pointed it at the officer, said the police. 

The man was later arrested for public nuisance. He will also be investigated for using abusive words against a public servant and breaching safe distancing measures. 

The fourth incident took place on Oct 23 at Redhill Food Centre, where the police were informed that a 53-year-old man had assaulted two enforcement officers. 

The officers had seen the man dining in with three other people and advised them to be seated separately. They complied. 

But when they checked the group's vacccination status, they found that the 53-year-old man was unvaccinated. 

The man was advised to leave the food centre as he was not allowed to dine in. However, the man purportedly punched one of the officers in the face and the other in the neck. 

The man was arrested for voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty. He and his three friends are also being investigated for breaching safe distancing measures. 

"Police investigations into all the above cases are ongoing," said the authorities. 

The police added it takes a serious view of abusive acts against enforcement officers. Members of the public are also advised to abide by the prevailing safe distancing measures. 

For voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty, offenders may be fined or caned, jailed up to four years, or both.

For using abusive words against a public servant or public service worker, offenders may be fined up to S$5,000, jailed up to 12 months, or both. 

Those found guilty of breaching COVID-19 regulations may be fined up to S$10,000, jailed up to six months, or both.

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Source: CNA/lk(gr)

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