COVID: Man and woman in 15-person CNY gathering fined $3,000

·Senior Reporter
·2 min read
(PHOTO: Google Street View)
(PHOTO: Google Street View)

SINGAPORE — A man and a woman were each fined $3,000 on Monday (25 October) after admitting to attending a Chinese New Year celebration involving 15 people in February this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Xiao Jing, a 30-year-old China national, and Tey Zhi Yuan, a 29-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty to one charge each of gathering at an office building located at 1 Pemimpin Drive in a group of more than eight persons without a reasonable purpose. Each also had a charge of leaving their residence for no reasonable excuse taken into consideration for sentencing.

From 28 December last year, Singapore was in Phase 3 of its re-opening, which capped social gatherings at eight persons. The measures were aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. 

Another 13 persons who were in the gathering have not been dealt with by the court. Six of them are female China nationals: He Liuqiong, 30, Li Jia, 25, Lin Xiaofeng, 33, Sun Min Qian, 33, Shao Rui, 37, and Chen Yuanyuan, 28. 

The remaining are all men: Lim Weitzien, a 26-year-old Malaysian, and Singaporeans Ong Hui Siong, 39, Low Xiang Hua, 31, Chua Li Jin, 32, Ethan Tan, 31, Joseph Lim Si Swee, 33, and Harold Tan Wei Jie, 35.

On 24 February this year, Chua was having diner with two others when he proposed a Chinese New Year gathering. He contacted Ong, who decided to use his office at 1 Pemimpin Drive to host the gathering.

The gathering soon grew as the original attendees began inviting others, who arrived from 9pm on 24 February. 

The group of 15 then sang karaoke and drank alcohol until after 2am on 25 February. Around the time, a security officer at the building called the police to report the group in the unit. 

Police officers arrived shortly and observed loud music. They knocked on the door and found people who were playing games, drinking and singing karaoke without taking steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

The prosecution sought a fine of at least $3,000 each for Xiao and Tey, who are first-time offenders. Deputy Public Prosecutor Emily Koh said that the group met for a frivolous reason, were noisy and had not taken safe management measures seriously. 

Asked separately for their mitigation, Xiao and Tey had nothing to say.

They could have each been jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000 for breaching COVID-19 regulations.

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