'Badge lady' fined & jailed again for not wearing mask at Orchard before optional mask-wearing in 2022

She was also convicted for failing to attend an investigation by STB.

Syahindah Ishak | September 11, 2023, 06:57 PM



Phoon Chiu Yoke, better known as the "badge lady", will be serving time in prison again.

The 56-year-old Singaporean, who was jailed for 16 weeks in 2021, was sentenced to nine weeks' jail and fined S$3,000 on Sep. 11, 2023.

Following a trial which saw local influencer Xiaxue as one of the witnesses, Phoon was convicted of all four of her charges— three under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act and one under the Infectious Diseases Act.

The charges

1st & 2nd charges: Did not wear a mask at Orchard Road

On Mar. 6, 2022, Phoon failed to wear a mask twice in the vicinity of the Mandarin Gallery at Orchard Road.

She was spotted by Xiaxue, who filmed the chance encounter and uploaded it online.

Wearing a mask outdoors was only made optional in Singapore from Mar. 29, 2022.

3rd charge: Did not attend STB's investigation

On Mar. 31, 2022, Phoon failed to attend the Tourism Court at Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Her attendance was required as a health officer investigated her breach of safe management measures.

4th charge: Did not wear a mask in ION Orchard

Phoon failed to wear a mask again on Aug. 16, 2022, this time within ION Orchard.

Indoor mask-wearing in Singapore only became optional from Aug. 29, 2022.

Her sentencing

Prosecution asked for deterrent sentence, sought for 8 to 14 weeks' jail time

The prosecution had sought eight to 14 weeks imprisonment and a fine of between S$2,000 to S$3,000, highlighting that Phoon committed the offences when the pandemic was still ongoing.

The prosecution also stated that Phoon was a recalcitrant offender, having committed her offences within six months of her release from jail.

Phoon's breaches of Covid-19 regulations reveal a "disturbing pattern of behaviour", added the prosecution.

"The accused simply has zero regard for the Covid-19 pandemic, the people who have suffered the brunt of the disease, and the measures that were put into place to prevent the spread of the virus, and to save lives.

The accused’s cavalier attitude towards Covid-19 is appalling given that she had previously been convicted and sentenced for this very behaviour and deserves the Court’s full disapprobation."

She pleaded for a fine and cited her clean record with SAF

Phoon, who represented herself in court, pleaded for a fine, according to The Straits Times and CNA.

She said there was no need for a deterrent sentence as the offences she had committed are "no longer offences today".

Phoon also cited her clean record as a former naval officer and claimed she was medically unfit for prison but did not elaborate why.

The judge's decision

While wearing a mask is no longer mandatory, the district judge stated that a strong signal needed to be sent to potential offenders when public safety is a concern, CNA reported.

On whether her term with the navy should be considered a mitigation factor, the judge said he would not consider it,

He explained that Phoon's record with the navy should have instead made her appreciate the need to comply with laws instead of repeatedly defying them.

As reported by CNA, the judge said that Phoon had "not learnt her lesson", noting that she is a recalcitrant offender.

Phoon will begin her sentence on Sep. 18, 2023.

Phoon first appeared in court in 2020 after she failed to wear a mask at Newton Hawker Centre on May 8, 2020, during the circuit breaker period.

However, she started making headlines in May 2021 after a video of her at Marina Bay Sands went viral.

She was not wearing a mask while arguing with a Safe Distancing Ambassador (SDA), asking, "Where is your badge?"

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Top images by Syahindah Ishak & via @alexzellsim/TikTok.