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'Badge lady' Phoon Chiu Yoke charged again with failing to wear face mask in public in March 2022

SINGAPORE — A year after being jailed 16 weeks for repeatedly refusing to wear a face mask in public places, Phoon Chiu Yoke was on Wednesday (Sept 7) hauled back to court and charged with the same offences.

Phoon Chiu Yoke arriving at the State Courts on Sept 7, 2022.

Phoon Chiu Yoke arriving at the State Courts on Sept 7, 2022.

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SINGAPORE — A year after being jailed 16 weeks for repeatedly refusing to wear a face mask in public places, Phoon Chiu Yoke was on Wednesday (Sept 7) hauled back to court and charged with the same offences.

Phoon, 55, was dubbed the “badge lady” by online users last year after video footage of her asking a safe distancing ambassador why she had “no badge” went viral.

At the time, the former naval officer had broken Covid-19 regulations by not wearing a mask at the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.

Videos of her at other places, including at Clarke Quay Central mall, also circulated on social media and messaging platforms.

When she turned up at the State Courts last year, she was filmed taking her mask off outside the court premises and smiling at press photographers.

Failing to wear a face mask in indoor public areas has been illegal up until a week ago, when masks were made optional everywhere except public transport and healthcare institutions. People also had to wear masks outdoors until March 29

On Wednesday, Phoon was handed two fresh charges of failing to wear a face mask earlier this year. This happened twice at the Mandarin Gallery mall along Orchard Road on March 6, including when she was walking by a Victoria's Secret outlet there, court documents stated.

She was also given a third charge under the Infectious Diseases Act of failing to attend an investigation hearing convened by the Singapore Tourism Board on March 31.

Phoon’s newest alleged offences first surfaced when social media influencer Wendy Cheng, popularly known as Xiaxue, posted an Instagram Story about bumping into a woman believed to be Phoon along Orchard Road.

Images taken from an Instagram Story by social media influencer Wendy Cheng — popularly known as Xiaxue — who posted about bumping into a woman believed to be Ms Phoon Chiu Yoke along Orchard Road on March 6, 2022.

On Wednesday, she told District Judge Lorraine Ho that she will be making representations to the Attorney-General's Chambers and will likely be defending herself. She did not appear with a lawyer.

The judge then fixed a pre-trial conference to be held on Oct 14. 

Those convicted of repeatedly flouting Covid-19 laws can be fined up to S$20,000 or jailed up to a year, or both.


When Phoon was sentenced to jail time on Sept 6 last year, she pleaded guilty to several charges of not wearing a mask in public as well as leaving her hotel room while on a two-week stay-home order.

The court heard that she was unemployed, having retired from the Republic of Singapore Navy in 2002. She last held the rank of major.

Her offences spanned more than a year from May 2020 to June 2021.

She was first issued a S$300 composition fine for failing to wear a mask at Newton Food Centre, having told National Environment Agency officers that she did not know what Covid-19 was. She ultimately did not pay the fine.

On June 2020, she flew to London, England and had to serve a stay-home notice at Marina Bay Sands. However, she repeatedly left her room without a mask and claimed that she had a right to use the hotel amenities after paying S$2,400 for the stay.

She also did not wear a mask at least three times at St Andrew’s Cathedral near City Hall MRT Station.

She remained unmasked throughout a worship service and told the church’s head estate manager that she did not need one.

At Clarke Quay Central in December 2020, she tried to enter through an office tower but was stopped. 

She asked security guards where it was stated that she had to wear a mask and later questioned the authority of safe-distancing ambassadors. 

She also said that she was an army commander and once drove a tank, and that they had no right to ask her to wear a mask.

A video of her challenging them went viral, which showed her saying things such as, “Don’t treat me like I don’t know the law… I want you to understand the damage you’re doing to Singapore’s image.”

As for the MBS incident on May 15 last year, she entered the mall without a mask and later challenged a safe-distancing ambassador, asking: “Who are you representing? Where is your badge?” 

She then left and went to Toast Box cafe without a mask.

A video of her there went viral as well. It showed her asking the ambassadors: “You have no badge; who are you representing? You are not the police… I say to you, if you have no badge, don’t speak to me. You have no right to say anything.”

Phoon Chiu Yoke captured in the MBS viral video.

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court crime phoon chiu yoke Covid-19 face masks

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