Woman who let man into flat to take exam during circuit breaker fined $3,700

·Senior Reporter
·4 min read
Singapore's State Courts seen on 21 April 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
Singapore's State Courts (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A woman who let a colleague into her flat for two days during the circuit breaker period and also met a friend to pass her a birthday present was fined $3,700 on Thursday (24 September).

Mika She Yuan Wei, 25, told a court that she had let Chiew Chin Wooi into the flat as Chiew did not have stable WiFi connection at his home but needed to do an important online examination.

Both She and Chiew are Malaysians and are auditors.

“I assumed I was the only help available to him when no one else can help him because he was alone in Singapore, so I agreed and opened my house to him. At the back of my mind I know it was during the circuit breaker but what I wanted to then is just extend a helping hand when no one else can do it during that period,” said She.

She pleaded guilty to one count each of permitting Chiew to enter her place on 9 May and of meeting another individual not living in the same household for a social purpose. Both charges are a breach of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. A charge of letting Chiew in on 8 May was taken into consideration for sentencing.

The offence came to light after Chiew posted photographs and captions stating that he had left his place of residence while on medical leave to take an examination. Investigations later revealed that he had gone to She’s flat for the examination.

Chiew, who was supposed to be charged alongside She on 14 August, left Singapore on 17 July and is still at large. A warrant of arrest has been issued for him.

She, who had no lawyer, told District Judge Prem Raj that even though Chiew was in her house, the two kept to safe distancing measures and remained at least a metre apart.

While She was working from home and Chiew was studying in the living room, they kept a distance away from each other.

Chiew had requested to enter her flat on 8 May to take the Certified Practising Accountant examination as he had weaker WiFi at his own residence. She agreed and he came to her house at 8 May, at around 8.40am.

Before he left her flat at about 4.50pm, Chiew told She that he was going to see a doctor. He then visited a clinic and obtained a five-day medical certificate as he was suffering from cough.

Chiew posted a photograph of the medical certificate online. She saw the post on the morning of 9 May.

At about 9.35am on 9 May, Chiew went to She’s flat to study together and take the second part of his examination. She said that while she was aware of Chiew’s MC, he seemed “perfectly fine” to her.

At around noon, both left to buy lunch at a coffeeshop opposite She’s flat. Both were seen leaving the flat at about 4.40pm.

That same day, She arranged with another colleague, Ang Hui Shian, to meet at Punggol Waterway Point to pass a birthday present to her.

Chiew and She took the LRT to Punggol Waterway Point and met Ang at about 4.45pm. The trio then went to NTUC supermarket inside Punggol Waterway Point to buy groceries for about 30 minutes. They then went to a food court to buy takeaway dinner before leaving the mall at about 6pm.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew sought a $4,000 fine as She had let Chiew into her flat for two consecutive days and spent many hours in an enclosed space.

There was “no real need” for her to have let him in, he said.

DJ Prem Raj said, ”Had there been one charge in this case I would be inclined to exercise greater leniency toward you, but the fact of the matter was that these were offences that spanned 8 and 9 May as well. I don’t understand why you’re telling me you knew all of these precautions were there.

“We were in the thick of COVID-19 period but you had to meet someone else to pass the birthday gift.”

She will be paying her fine in instalments. For her breach, She could have been fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to six months or both.

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