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Covid-19: Man fined $15,500 for co-hosting 40-person birthday party and 13-person gathering in industrial unit

SINGAPORE — After illegally converting a unit in an industrial building into an entertainment venue, Kenneth Chua Wei Lun went on to breach Covid-19 safe distancing laws by co-hosting two large parties there over two weekends.

On Jan 9, 2021, the police found 40 people who had gathered at an industrial building to drink, sing and smoke, in breach of safe distancing regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Jan 9, 2021, the police found 40 people who had gathered at an industrial building to drink, sing and smoke, in breach of safe distancing regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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  • Kenneth Chua Wei Lun and another man co-hosted parties in a Sin Ming industrial building
  • They converted a unit into an entertainment venue and split the profits made from selling alcohol there
  • Police officers first busted a birthday party there with 40 people on Jan 9
  • About a week later, they found 13 people drinking there

 

SINGAPORE — After illegally converting a unit in an industrial building into an entertainment venue, Kenneth Chua Wei Lun went on to breach Covid-19 safe distancing laws by co-hosting two large parties there over two weekends.

Police officers first busted 40 people drinking, smoking and singing in the Midview City building on Jan 8.

The next week, at the same unit in the building located along Sin Ming Lane, they found 13 people there.

On Tuesday (May 25), Chua, 32, was fined S$15,500. Court documents did not state his occupation.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of providing public entertainment without a valid licence or exemption, as well as a third charge of exceeding the maximum allowed group size for social gatherings.

At the time of his offences in January, only eight people were allowed to gather in public for social purposes under Phase Three of Singapore’s reopening after a partial lockdown last year.

District Judge Toh Han Li took into consideration another three charges, including supplying alcohol without a valid liquor licence, in sentencing Chua.

The fine comprised S$8,000 for breaking Covid-19 laws, believed to be one of the heaviest for an individual, and S$3,500 and S$4,000 for the public entertainment violations.

The court heard that Chua and another man, Joel Ang Yun Nan, had decided in December last year to host parties at the industrial space. The unit was rented by Music Production Studio, of which Ang was an authorised representative.

Ang was also set to plead guilty on Tuesday but his case was adjourned as he faces more charges.

The duo jointly decided on what sound equipment and furniture to buy for the unit, and agreed to split the profits from selling liquor there. Chua funded the venture while Ang took charge of its daily operations.

TOLD GUESTS THERE WOULD BE 'A LOT OF PEOPLE' 

On Jan 8 this year, the building’s security team told its operations manager about music playing and people entering and exiting the unit.

The manager called the police after he checked the unit around midnight and noticed that it was locked but found people waiting around the unit. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Yeow Xuan told the court that Ang held a birthday party that night and told everyone that the party would involve "a lot of people”.

Guests were also served alcohol past 10.30pm — establishments that hold liquor licences are not allowed to serve alcohol past that time. Neither Chua, Ang nor Music Production Studio had a liquor licence. 

Around 3.10am, police officers searched the unit and arrested 40 people aged between 17 and 32, including Chua and Ang. Chua had been there for close to five hours.

DPP Yeow said that Chua had specifically failed to implement any SafeEntry checks or temperature screenings, and was not aware of who some of the guests were.

Aside from Chua, a 20-year-old woman who attended the party was fined S$2,000. The others have been charged and their cases are pending.

On Jan 17, police officers were again alerted to another gathering at the unit. 

This time, a group of seven men and six women — aged between 19 and 36 — were found drinking there at around 4am, with loud music playing over the speakers. Ang was among them.

Court documents showed that it was not Chua’s first Covid-19 violation. On April 11 last year, during the circuit breaker period that restricted movements and activities, he met three others not from his household to chat in a Boon Lay flat.

Those convicted of breaking Covid-19 laws can be jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$10,000, or both.

Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to a year or fined up to S$20,000, or both.

For providing public entertainment without a licence, he could have been fined up to S$20,000.

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Covid-19 fine breach safe distancing police party social gathering

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