Man fined for cursing at officer during 10-person gathering at Newton Food Centre
SINGAPORE - During Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening in 2020, when the maximum permissible group size was five, a man met nine other people at a hawker centre for a birthday gathering. When safe-distancing ambassadors approached the group and asked them to stop mingling, the man turned aggressive and cursed at them. Idumehdrah Arumugam, 44, was fined S$6,500 for his acts on Friday (Jun 11).
He pleaded guilty to one charge each of meeting others for a non-permitted purpose and using abusive words towards an auxiliary police officer. Another two charges were considered in sentencing. The court heard that Idumehdrah gathered with nine other people at Newton Food Centre at about 2pm on Oct 11, 2020 to celebrate a birthday. Idumehdrah consumed a large amount of alcohol with the others, said the prosecutor. Members of the public informed safe-distancing ambassadors and an auxiliary police officer tasked with enforcing COVID-19 rules about the gathering. The officer and two ambassadors approached the group at 5.10pm and saw them mingling, failing to maintain safe distancing and smoking under a shelter in front of a stall.
The officer advised the group to stop mingling and to adhere to safe-distancing, but the group ignored him. When he advised them again, Idumehdrah suddenly turned aggressive. He was openly aggressive towards the officer and the two ambassadors, and had to be held back by other members of the group. One of the ambassadors lodged a police report. The victims disengaged themselves from the group to prevent the matter from escalating further, but the group dispersed and left before the police arrived. For breaching a COVID-19 regulation, Idumehdrah could have been jailed up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both. For using abusive words on a public servant, he could have been jailed up to a year, fined up to S$5,000, or both.