'Are you sure I was not sucking on lozenges?': 'Badge lady' questions ION Orchard security guard during trial

She also claimed that CCTV footage of her not wearing a mask could have been edited.

Fiona Tan | Kelsy Koh | May 24, 2023, 06:22 PM

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Security officers from ION Orchard testified against Singaporean woman Phoon Chiu Yoke, known better as "badge lady" by netizens, in a trial on May 24, 2023.

Phoon, who appeared in a black blazer, white shirt and black skirt, represented herself to contest four charges against her — failing to wear a mask twice along Orchard Road and once in ION Orchard, and failing to attend an investigation by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in 2022.

ION security officer said he advised Phoon to wear a mask

The prosecution called two ION Orchard security officers and a service ambassador to the witness stand today.

Both security officers were on duty on Aug. 16, 2022, when it was alleged that Phoon did not wear a mask while within the shopping mall's premises.

The first security officer testified that he noticed Phoon not wearing a mask while she was riding an escalator down from level three to level two outside the Patek Philippe store.

The prosecutor played CCTV footage in court showing the security officer approaching Phoon.

The security officer claimed he advised her to wear a mask, but she ignored him and went along her way.

When the prosecutor asked if he saw her eating, drinking or consuming any medication at that time, he said no.

Phoon asked how he knew she was not sucking on lozenges

During the cross-examination, Phoon requested the security officer to repeat what he said to her.

The security officer answered that he said, “Can you please wear your mask?"

She further questioned him if there were any signage at the entrance asking visitors to wear a mask. However, the security officer claimed he could not recall.

Phoon then asked how he knew she was not eating since he approached her from the back.

"Because you turned around to look at me," the officer replied.

"But did I talk to you?" Phoon retorted.

She then asked if he was "very sure" that she was not eating, sucking on medicine or sucking on lozenges.

Before the security officer could answer, she went on to ask if not wearing a mask for 39 seconds was a "big offence".

She pointed out that if it was, "Why didn't you ask me to leave immediately?"

The security officer said that they would advise shoppers to put on their masks first before asking them to leave.

Before concluding her cross-examination, Phoon claimed she put on a mask "39 seconds later", and highlighted that the security officer could not remember if there were signage in the mall.

Most of 24 CCTV footage shows her not wearing a mask

A second security officer and a service ambassador, who were in charge of extracting the CCTV footage showing Phoon walking around in ION Orchard on Aug. 16, took the stand.

The prosecution tendered 24 CCTV footage and played most of them in court, which showed Phoon not wearing a mask while walking around.

The videos showed Phoon entering ION Orchard through the passageway connected to Wheelock Place and then making her way up the mall before going down from level four.

The second security officer and service ambassador identified Phoon in the videos and testified that she was not wearing a mask.

Phoon claims videos can be edited to add "additional figures"

When cross-examining the second security officer, Phoon questioned the videos' veracity, claiming that the videos could have been tampered with.

She claimed that the videos were not protected, among other things, and asked the security officer if he had compared the video that he extracted and saved with the "raw footage" within the system.

Phoon questioned, "Have you ever made a comparison of the video that you have saved, second by second, and compared it with the raw footage?"

"No, basically, what I recall from my memory is the same video," the security officer answered.

"But this is what you believe, and using technology, it could have been edited." Phoon continued. "Do you agree that additional figures could be put into the video?"

She claimed that "from the minute" the thumb drive left the security officer's hand, the video was "not protected" and "could be edited".

She further questioned how the security officer could identify her in the videos that showed her back view.

More to come

The prosecution will call more witnesses to testify against Phoon for the trial.

In a previous tranche, social media personality Wendy Cheng, also known as Xiaxue, and her cameraperson were called to the stand to testify against Phoon.

A video of Xiaxue, shot by the cameraperson, captured Phoon walking without a mask in the background.

If convicted of failing to wear a mask when required, offenders can be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$20,000 or both.

The penalty is the same for repeat offenders.

Phoon was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail in September 2021 for similar mask-wearing offences.

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Top image from @alexzellsim/TikTok and by Matthias Ang