Coronavirus: Two weeks' jail for man who left hostel after being issued with stay-home notice

SINGAPORE - Even after knowing that he had symptoms similar to 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, Chong Tet Choe, a Singapore permanent resident, was sentenced to jail for two weeks on Friday (Aug 7). His sentence has been 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 that he was told was also an SHN.

Chong was then informed that he should stay in his residence, at 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.

However, he left his hostel on April 30 to buy groceries and withdraw money at a nearby supermarket.

Chong 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 that 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 have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000 for repeat offences.