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Man gave unvaccinated person TraceTogether app to use for dining in, convicted of cheating

Man gave unvaccinated person TraceTogether app to use for dining in, convicted of cheating

A TraceTogether token next to a mobile phone displaying the app. (File photo: Government Technology Agency of Singapore)

SINGAPORE: A vaccinated man handed his phone with his TraceTogether application to an unvaccinated person so the latter could dine in at a bar when this was not allowed under COVID-19 safety measures.

Kiran Singh Rughbir Singh, 37, pleaded guilty to one charge of cheating by personation on Wednesday (Feb 9). Sentencing was adjourned at the defence counsel's request.

His co-accused Utheyakumar Nallathamby, a 65-year-old retiree, returns to court next month for a pre-trial conference. Court documents did not specify the relationship between Singh and Utheyakumar.

The court heard that on Sep 9 last year, Singh, Utheyakumar and Singh's girlfriend went to Sentosa for drinks.

They went to Bikini Bar, but Utheyakumar was denied entry by an employee as he was not vaccinated, and the trio decided to leave.

Singh then suggested that the group go to another establishment, Coastes Bar, and that the older man falsely represent himself as Singh by showing the vaccination status on Singh's phone.

Utheyakumar agreed to Singh's suggestions. He took the phone and proceeded to Coastes Bar with Singh's girlfriend while Singh waited outside.

At the bar's entrance, Utheyakumar tapped Singh's phone against the SafeEntry Gateway device, which showed that the owner of the phone was vaccinated.

The bar's assistant manager also asked Utheyakumar and Singh's girlfriend to confirm that the information on the device's screen showed their vaccination statuses, and both replied yes.

They were allowed to enter Coastes Bar and sat at a table to have their drinks.

However, the Bikini Bar employee recognised Utheyakumar as the man she had earlier turned away because he was unvaccinated. The two establishments are located next to each other on the beachfront.

She alerted the assistant manager and operations manager of Coastes Bar, who immediately checked the phone that Utheyakumar had and discovered that it belonged to Singh.

The matter was reported to the duty manager of Sentosa Development Corporation. A police report was later made by a compliance manager of the company.

"Offences involving the use of deception to circumvent public health protocols during a pandemic inevitably warrant severe treatment, save in exceptional cases," said the prosecution.

"Such offences threaten to grievously undermine the effectiveness of the public health protocols that are put in place for collective public safety, and to set Singapore back in its journey to becoming a COVID-resilient nation."

Singh faces a sentence of up to five years' jail, a fine or both.

Source: CNA/dv(ac)


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