MBS Badge Lady sentenced to 16 weeks in prison after pleading guilty

The prosecution noted that Phoon Chiu Yoke was a "recalcitrant offender".

Matthias Ang | September 06, 2021, 06:39 PM

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54-year-old Phoon Chiu Yoke has been sentenced to 16 weeks in prison on Sep. 6 after pleading guilty to nine charges of breaching Covid-19 safe distancing measures, CNA reported.

She also consented to having 13 additional charges taken into consideration for her sentencing, according to courts documents seen by Mothership.

Phoon had first entered 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?”

She then became known as the "MBS Badge Woman" by the public.

Prosecution: Phoon was a "recalcitrant offender"

In their sentencing submissions, the prosecution urged a jail term of 17-22 weeks for Phoon, highlighting that she was a "recalcitrant offender" who had not learned her lesson despite multiple warnings from law enforcement officers, safe distancing officers and the public.

Phoon first appeared in court in 2020 after she failed to wear a mask at Newton hawker centre between 7.20pm and 8pm on May 8, 2020 during the circuit breaker period.

She left Singapore for the U.K. soon after.

She returned to Singapore on June 28, 2020 and had to serve a 14-day stay-home notice at Marina Bay Sands until July 12.

She left her hotel room at MBS between 8.07pm and 8.23pm on June 28, 2020, to loiter at various places in the hotel.

She then failed to wear a mask at public places on multiple occasions between Dec. 2, 2020 and May 24, 2021.

These instances took place at MBS, outside the State Courts building, at Clarke Quay Central and at Bras Basah Complex.

On May 25, Phoon was arrested, charged in court and remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for two weeks.

She was subsequently released on a bail of S$8,000, while facing seven charges, including failing to wear a mask at Marina Bay Sands, Newton Food Centre, Clarke Quay Central, Bras Basah Complex, and outside the State Courts building.

Phoon was then found to have failed to wear a mask at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel around 3pm on June 25.

On July 6, the number of charges Phoon faced was raised from seven to 21, with her bail increased from S$8,000 to S$12,000.

Her bail was then revoked after she received a fresh charge for the June 25 incident.

Previously called for charges to be dropped as she was a naval officer with "strong professional standing" and claimed mask made her breathless

During her previous hearings, the court heard Phoon call for charges to be dropped on the grounds that she was a naval officer with "strong professional standing".

She said, “I have a very strong professional standing, not only in Singapore, but globally."

"I served in the navy for 12 years and was the first female commanding officer."

In another instance, Phoon also said that she did not wear a mask for "medical reasons".

She claimed that wearing a mask makes her feel breathless and worsens her eczema.

Phoon told the court: "If I'm breathless, would you expect me to collapse?"

She subsequently urged the court to drop her charges on the grounds of "ethical and medical values".

For each charge of breaking a law under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, Phoon could have been jailed up to six months, or fined S$10,000, or been subjected to both.

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Top Photo by Matthias Ang