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Teen arrested for impersonating safe distancing enforcement officer

Teen arrested for impersonating safe distancing enforcement officer

File photo of a police officer arresting a suspect. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

SINGAPORE: A 19-year-old teenager has been arrested after he was suspected of impersonating a COVID-19 safe distancing enforcement officer.

Two other men, aged 20 and 35, are assisting in investigations, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a news release on Tuesday (Nov 10).

On Oct 17, the authorities received a report about three men believed to have impersonated safe distancing enforcement officers in the vicinity of the Westgate shopping mall. 

Investigations revealed that the three men had claimed to be from an organisation named "SG United". 

The suspects were identified following ground enquiries and follow-up investigations by officers from the Clementi Police Division. 

READ: From tour guide to safe distancing ambassador - Switching roles during the COVID-19 pandemic

READ: 'Never approach people from behind' - How enforcement officers and ambassadors handle the public

"It was ascertained that they were not hired by any government agencies and were not authorised to perform safe distancing enforcement duties," said SPF. 

Investigations against all three men are ongoing. 

If found guilty of cheating, the teenager could be fined, jailed for up to five years or both.

SPF reminded the public that safe distancing enforcement officers and ambassadors can be identified through their respective passes or the SG Clean Ambassador pass when they are performing safe distancing duties.

Enforcement officers and safe distancing ambassadors can be identified through these passes. (Photo: Facebook/Masagos Zulkifli)
A woman wearing an SG Clean Ambassador pass. (Photo: Facebook/Clean & Green Singapore)

Enforcement officers may also wear a red armband, SPF said.

Enforcement officers will get red armbands so members of the public can identify them more easily. (Photo: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources)

Ambassadors help to advise and guide businesses and individuals in complying with safe distancing and safe management measures, the police said.

"Besides police officers, enforcement officers are the only authorised persons who can take enforcement action by issuing composition fines for breaches of safe distancing and safe management measures," SPF said.

"Notices for fines will be issued to offenders in hard copy either on site or through mail. Members of the public will never be asked to make payment in cash on the spot, or to provide bank account details or one-time passwords to make payment," SPF added.

Members of the public should be wary when such requests are made by people who claim to be enforcement officers, the authorities advised. 

Source: CNA/dv(hs)


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