MBS badge woman claims to be 'eyewitness' to many 'grave matters' in SAF, wants all charges dropped

She also said she will not get a fair hearing as a result.

Belmont Lay | June 15, 2021, 11:57 AM

A 53-year-old woman, who was a former naval officer, told the court on June 15 that she does not expect to get a fair hearing and should be "granted immunity" as a regular citizen.

Phoon Chiu Yoke claimed this is due to her past cases while serving in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and asked for all charges to be dropped.

She faces seven charges of not wearing her mask in various places and breaching her Stay-Home Notice.

Phoon was representing herself.

Previously, in court on June 8, Phoon had also asked for the charges against her to be dropped.

That day, she said four times that she was a naval officer for 12 years and was the first female commanding officer, and that she has a "strong professional standing".

Claims she cannot get fair hearing

Phoon said in her latest claims that she is privy to a "number of incidents" when she was a "plaintiff" or "eye witness" to many cases during her time in the SAF.

And given this background, it was "not possible" for her to have a fair hearing, she said.

"I am not privy to discuss all these cases in court here without causing embarrassment or being prejudicial to the SAF and to the government of Singapore," she said, and proposed that she is "applying for all these charges to be dropped".

Asked to elaborate

When questioned by District Judge Janet Wang about her past cases with the SAF, Phoon repeated her allegations, saying: "Due to all these cases in the past, I should be granted immunity as a citizen."

Phoon described the cases as "grave" and "very serious in nature".

The judge then told Phoon that the case with the SAF would not be made known to the court for her current charges.

Phoon replied: "I beg to differ."

She later clarified that she was an eyewitness and had not faced charges.

Out on bail as she was wearing mask

Phoon had returned to court a week after undergoing a psychiatric assessment for two weeks.

She was offered bail of S$8,000.

The prosecution told the court that Phoon may face more charges, including those from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

The judge adjourned the case to July 6 for Phoon to seek legal advice and pending other charges.

Phoon remains out on bail having turned up to court while wearing a mask.

The maximum penalty for breaching Covid-19 measures is six months' jail and a fine of S$10,000.

Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to one year and fined up to S$20,000.


Phoon currently faces seven charges.

Six of the charges are for failing to wear a mask in public.

The other charge is for violating a stay-home order in June 2020, when she returned from the United Kingdom.

She first appeared in the public's consciousness on May 15 after video clips of her not wearing a mask at Marina Bay Sands were put up online.

In a video taken at MBS, Phoon was heard probing a safe-distancing ambassador: "If you have no badge, why are you asking me to do something? Who are you representing?”

Phoon became known as the "MBS Badge Woman" by the public.

Other purported instances where she failed to wear a mask were also shared on the internet.

After those videos blew up, she was made to attend court where she contested one of the charges for failing to wear a mask at Newton Food Centre, and was subsequently photographed removing her mask when she left the State Courts.

She was made to return to court the next day.

Phoon said on her return that she found it “very abnormal” she had to wear a mask and did not know she had to wear one in public.

She was then sent to the Institute of Mental Health for two weeks for a psychiatric assessment.

She then requested for charges to be dropped during the June 8 hearing.

Top photo via Syahindah Ishak