SINGAPORE: Two teenagers accused of a viral stunt, in which one drank from juice bottles at a supermarket while the other filmed, pleaded guilty on Thursday (Jul 16).
The court heard that a 17-year-old boy filmed co-accused Nigel Pang Yew Ming, 18, taking swigs from juice bottles at the supermarket at 2 Bukit Batok West Avenue 7 at 6.45pm on Feb 6 before returning them to the shelf.
The 17-year-old cannot be named due to amendments to the Children and Young Persons Act.
He filmed the entire incident and posted it on social media platform Instagram with the caption “how to spread Wuhan virus” on an Instagram Story using his account, which had at least 1,360 followers at the time.
In his mitigation plea, the defence counsel representing the 17-year-old argued that the video was initially uploaded onto a private Instagram account, and it was a friend who circulated it and caused it to go viral.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh responded that though his Instagram account was private, the boy knew it had a “substantial following” and there was a “high likelihood” the post would go viral.
He said he had no objections to calling for probation suitability reports for both teenagers.
Defence counsel Dhillon Surinder Singh, who was representing Pang, agreed with the position, saying that a probation is the “most appropriate sentence”.
On Thursday, both defendants pleaded guilty to one charge of public nuisance each.
Pang, who had earlier maintained that he did not consent to the caption "how to spread Wuhan virus", retracted the denial and agreed to the statement of facts read out, which said that he knew the co-accused would caption the video as such and post it on Instagram.
The district judge called for a report to assess if both are suitable for probation. They will return to court on Aug 27.
For committing an act of public nuisance, both teenagers could be jailed for up to three months, fined up to S$2,000 or both.
Editor's note: The name and photo of the 17-year-old have been removed due to amendments to the Children and Young Persons Act.