A Singaporean man who breached his Stay-Home Notice (SHN) to eat bak kut teh said that he would plead guilty to the offence.
Alan Tham, who was wearing a surgical mask in court, expressed his intention when he was charged under the Infectious Diseases Act today (Apr. 7)
The 34-year-old is accused of exposing others to the risk of infection when he knew he was a suspected contact of a person with Covid-19 and was subjected to a SHN.
According to court documents, the places that Tham is alleged to have appeared at after the SHN was issued include:
- Kopitiam in Changi Airport Terminal 3
- Peninsula Plaza
- Kampung Admiralty Foodfare Hawker Centre
- NTUC FairPrice Kampung Admiralty in Block 676, Woodlands Drive 71.
When asked by District Judge Adam Nakhoda what he intended to do, Tham said:
"I plead guilty to this...I already explained everything, but the case is like they don’t take what I try to say.”
Confusion over SHN duration
Tham's infringement gained attention after he published a Mar. 24 Facebook post about enjoying a meal of Bak Kut Teh having just returned to Singapore from a trip to Myanmar on Mar. 23.
He had previously explained to netizens on his Facebook post that he believed his SHN started the day after he landed.
His confusion — if genuine — appears to be over how an SHN comes into effect from Day 0 (the day that Tham landed in Singapore) to Day 14.
Tham relayed the same explanation to The Straits Times.
Day 0 is part of the SHN, and those who are served the notice are required to comply with it on that day.
Bail not ordered
Tham was unrepresented in court and indicated that he did not intend to solicit the services of a lawyer.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin asked for bail to be set at S$5,000.
However, Nakhoda said that he was “not inclined to order bail” given that it was a summons case, and that Tham did not seem to be a flight risk.
Tham will return to court on Apr. 16.
Shanmugam highlighted Tham's post
A day after Tham's Facebook post, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam highlighted the man's post in Parliament.
Shanmugam said he had asked for the case to be investigated and that stern action will be taken against those who breach such notices.
SHNs have been issued to all travellers returning from abroad since Mar. 20.
Those issued SHNs must remain in their residences at all times from the day they return, and cannot even go out to buy necessities.
No visitors are allowed.
If convicted, Tham could be jailed for up to six months, fined a maximum S$10,000, or both.
Top image credit: Alan Tham/Facebook