A 55-year-old woman who was charged for not wearing a mask has withdrawn her request to leave for China, following objections by the prosecution, CNA reported.
Phoon Chiu Yoke, also commonly referred to as "MBS Badge Lady", had requested the court's permission to travel to China via Hong Kong on Sep. 7, according to The Straits Times.
Prosecution: Phoon is a flight risk, might not turn up at next court date
On Sep. 12, the prosecution objected to her request, and described Phoon as a flight risk on the grounds that she might not turn up at her next court date.
The prosecution noted that Phoon is not employed in Singapore and does not own any property, CNA further reported.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim was quoted as saying that Phoon currently stays in a rented apartment, apart from her parents and brother.
In addition, Phoon has no urgent need to travel as she had given leisure as the purpose, Lim added, according to The Straits Times.
Lack of information given on how she will enter China
Gaps in her itinerary were also highlighted.
This includes a lack of documentation on how she will enter China through Hong Kong.
During her initial request on Sep. 7, Phoon claimed that she did need to undergo quarantine and had no need of a visa.
However, the prosecution pointed out that quarantine is required for both Hong Kong and China.
In addition, a pass known as the APEC visa or visit pass is required for China, CNA further reported.
Phoon was also told by the judge that it is not the duty of the court to ensure that she is compliant with Covid-19 policies in other countries.
The judge was quoted as saying, "But of course, if I do see that there are difficulties in you even being able to enter the country, then the question is whether or not I should even grant the application to begin with."
Phoon: I have a "good standing reputation" as a former military officer
In response, Phoon said that she had no documentation about how she was leaving Hong Kong for China as she intended to either book a ferry or take a train, neither of which could be done online, The Straits Times reported.
Phoon also said she was not a flight risk as she has a "good standing reputation" as a former military officer.
Following a brief adjournment, Phoon added that she wanted to travel to for both leisure and business.
Both the judge and prosecution replied that they were not aware of her business plans.
Phoon was then further quoted as saying:
"The trip was meant to be flexible. When I travel, it is also to update my photo portal that I run for myself, and in some instances, for charity. So you can say it is partially for business."
Following repeated exchanges, Phoon eventually agreed to withdraw her application to leave for China.
When the prosecution asked Phoon what she intended to do with the charges, she replied that she intended to plead guilty and provide a mitigation.
She will return to court on Oct. 14.
What has she been charged for?
On Sep. 7, Phoon was handed two charges for failing to wear a mask and one charge for not complying with an officer during investigations.
The former navy officer was accused of failing to wear a mask over her nose and mouth when walking along Mandarin Gallery at Orchard Road at about 3pm on Mar. 6.
She was also accused of not wearing a mask outside Victoria's Secret at Orchard Road about half an hour later that same day.
On Mar. 6, a woman alleged to be Phoon was spotted by internet personality Xiaxue walking around Orchard Road without a mask.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) told Mothership that they were aware of the incident and were investigating the matter.
Phoon was handed a third charge for failing to attend an investigation at STB for not wearing a mask.
As a repeat offender, Phoon can be fined up to S$20,000 and/ or jailed up to a year for flouting Covid-19 regulations.
Top left photo by Matthias Ang, right image via Xiaxue's Instagram