Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

Trial adjourned for couple charged with withholding info from contact tracers; prosecution wraps up case

SINGAPORE – The trial of a couple from China accused of withholding information from contact tracers was adjourned on Friday (Aug 21) after the prosecution wrapped up its case.

District Judge Ng Peng Hong said he will decide at a later date if the couple must present their defence in court.

The trial began on Monday and was initially set to last five days but three prosecution witnesses were only able to take the stand on Friday. This meant the couple did not get the chance to testify or have witnesses do so in their defence.

Hu Jun, 38, and wife Shi Sha, 36, each face a single charge of withholding information from a contract tracer on Hu’s whereabouts and activities between Jan 22 and 29.

Shi also faces three counts relating to providing false information to other contact tracers.

The Straits Times understands that Shi has a long-term visit pass and lives in Singapore with her two daughters, one of whom is at school here.

Hu flew in from Wuhan, China, on Jan 22 to celebrate Chinese New Year with them.

He was confirmed to be infected on Jan 31, subsequently recovered and was discharged from hospital on Feb 19.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) initiated contact tracing after his diagnosis to identify individuals who may have been exposed to Hu while he was symptomatic.

Shi was identified as a close contact and issued a quarantine order on Feb 1.

The court heard that the couple had given differing accounts of their activities between Jan 22 and 29 to various contact tracers, including MOH officers Yeo Seng Guan and Lee Kim Yen.

Mr Yeo and Ms Lee, along with interpreter Ee Soon Huat, visited Shi’s home three times in February.

They told the court on Friday that while Shi was cooperative during the interviews, she had claimed that the officers had leaked the couple’s personal information to the media.

The trial is expected to continue at a later date that has not yet been set.

Shi and Hu could be jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000 for each offence.

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