Sunday, 27 Sep 2020

Coronavirus: One of 2 hosts fined $4,000 over unlawful gathering in Compassvale Crescent flat

SINGAPORE – One of the hosts of an unlawful gathering in a Sengkang flat amid the Covid-19 outbreak was fined $4,000 on Wednesday (Aug 26).

Cassie Ong Shi Hong, who was then the fiancee of the home owner Leong Chee Mun, 37, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

The Straits Times understands that they are no longer engaged to each other.

The court heard that the 32-year-old Singaporean had earlier been offered a job in the childcare sector.

Her prospective employer has since withdrawn its offer following media coverage of the case, said her defence lawyers Josephus Tan, Marshall Lim and Cory Wong in their mitigation plea.

The team from Invictus Law Corporation added: “Cassie is therefore once again in between childcare jobs and it had not been easy for her to land this prospective job in the first place, given many parents’ aversion to sending their children to joint care facilities and thereby increasing their risk of exposure to Covid-19.”

Ong was the 11th person linked to the case to be dealt with in court.

On Aug 5, Jackson Tan Chia Ho and Jasmin Tan Ee Lin, both 30, were each fined $3,000.

Poh Yang Ting, 21; Peh Si Qin, 22; Felisa Chua Jia Xuan, 23; Low Wei Hao, 25; Nicman Lim Wei Fong, 25; Chee Min Hui, 27; Kho Zi Ting, 27; and Priscilia Tan Sze Hui, 32, were each fined $2,500.

The cases involving Leong and six other people are still pending.

During the circuit breaker period from April 7 to June 1, members of the public were not allowed to leave their place of residence without a valid reason or meet other people not living in the same place of residence for any social purpose.

Despite this, Jackson Tan and Jasmin Tan had been in the flat at Block 295C Compassvale Crescent since around 6am on May 8, as they had breakfast there.

The other guests later turned up from around 9pm that day.

While in the unit, the group mingled and came into close contact with one another while doing various activities such as eating, drinking alcoholic beverages, playing games and watching Netflix programmes.

A resident in the same block alerted the police to the gathering at around 2am the next day, stating: “This has been going on almost every night.”

A police officer, Sergeant Roy Tan, later arrived at the unit and when he rang the doorbell, he heard “hushing” noises coming from inside. But no one opened the front door.

The policeman had to knock on the door, ring the doorbell numerous times and wait for about three minutes before Leong finally answered.

Leong told Sgt Tan that he was the owner of the unit, and that he had been sleeping.

He also lied to the officer, claiming that he and Ong were the only ones there, the court heard.

But the policeman called his bluff and replied that he had heard noises coming from inside the flat.

The court heard that Leong finally admitted that there was a gathering and police later found the guests inside the flat.

On Wednesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Wei Liang urged the court to sentence Ong to a fine of at least $4,000, stressing that it is “critical that individuals keep contact with each other to a minimum” during the outbreak.

The defence lawyers, however, pleaded for their client to be given a fine of not more than $3,000.

They added that she had acted “out of character” and was remorseful.

Mr Wong also told the court that Ong had been in a “toxic relationship” and “went along” with Leong.

For each charge under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, a first-time offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

A repeat offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000.

Read the latest on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore and beyond on our dedicated site here.

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