Friday, May 7, 2021

Malaysian first to lose PR status as Singapore gets tough on Covid-19 offenders

Chong Tet Choe was ordered to remain at home except in the event that he needed medical attention, but left home multiple times in breach of public health rules.

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A Malaysian man who left his hostel in Singapore four times despite being told to stay at home has had his permanent residence (PR) status revoked, becoming the first to be stripped of PR status for breaching Covid-19 rules in the city-state.

Chong Tet Choe, who was charged last June with breaking his stay-home notice (SHN) on four occasions despite knowing that he had Covid-19 symptoms, was also sentenced to two weeks in jail on Aug 7, Singapore’s Straits Times reported today.

The court heard then that he had gone to a clinic on April 29 complaining of a cough and body aches. The clinic issued him a medical certificate and told him that it was also a SHN.

Under the SHN, Chong was ordered to remain at home from April 29 to May 3 except in the event that he required medical attention.

According to his hostel records, however, he left his home four times within that time frame in order to buy food and groceries, withdraw money and top up the credit on his mobile phone.

He did not confess to these acts until he was shown the access records, the court was also told.

Under Singaporean law, Chong could have faced jail of up to six months and a fine of S$10,000 for each of his offences, ST said. He could also have been jailed for up to a year and fined a maximum of S$20,000 for repeat offences.

Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said Chong’s PR status was revoked yesterday.

“Singapore permanent residents who have been convicted of an offence will have their PR status reviewed by the ICA,” it said in a statement.

“In the case of Chong Tet Choe, the ICA revoked his PR status on Feb 4.”

It added that foreigners who fail to comply with public health regulations could face further administrative action by the ICA, the manpower ministry or both.

As of today, Singapore had reported a total of 59,649 Covid-19 infections, a mild outbreak compared to that of many other countries.

Channel NewsAsia said Chong was one of 367 people who had breached their SHN from a total of 308,442 issued since Jan 25.

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