Man who left hostel while on SHN gets 2 weeks' jail

Even after knowing that he had symptoms similar to those of a Covid-19 infection and having been issued with a stay-home notice (SHN), a 47-year-old man left his hostel on four occasions to run errands.

For his actions in exposing others to a risk of infection, Singapore permanent resident Chong Tet Choe was sentenced yesterday to two weeks in jail, with the sentence deferred to Aug 14.

He had pleaded guilty to three charges under the Infectious Diseases Act. One other similar charge was taken into consideration during sentencing by District Judge Tan Jen Tse.

The court heard that Chong visited Summit Medical Clinic at Block 134 Jurong Gateway Road on April 29, complaining of a cough and body aches.

He was issued a medical certificate which he was told was also an SHN. He was then informed that he should remain at his residence - Westwood Hostel in Jurong West Avenue 5 - from April 29 to May 3 and not leave it for any purpose except to seek medical attention.

But Chong left the hostel on April 30 to buy groceries and withdraw money at a nearby supermarket. He also went to a canteen near the hostel to buy food on two days - May 2 and May 3.

He left his residence for a second time on May 3 to top up the credit stored in his mobile phone at an AXS machine.

Urging the court to impose a jail term of three weeks, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Kee said Chong had earlier lied to an officer from the Ministry of Health, saying he had left his hostel only once.

It was only after he was shown the access records of his hostel that he confessed to his offences, the DPP said.

For each of his offences, Chong could have been jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000. He could also have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000 for repeat offences.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2020, with the headline 'Man who left hostel while on SHN gets 2 weeks' jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe