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Covid-19: Man fined for organising marketing event on yacht with 13 people, including influencers

SINGAPORE — A man who breached Covid-19 safe distancing rules by co-organising an event on a yacht with several social media influencers, in order to promote his friend’s business, was fined S$7,000 on Tuesday (Sept 28).

Covid-19: Man fined for organising marketing event on yacht with 13 people, including influencers

Lim Tian Yi (second from right) on board a yacht in a photograph posted on social media.

  • Lim Tian Yi pleaded guilty to co-organising a marketing event with his friend, in order to promote her business on the yacht she managed
  • Several influencers were invited and they also posted photos of themselves making candles and essential oils
  • The prevailing Covid-19 rules restricted social gathering group sizes to five at the time
  • Lim and his friend were charged, while the influencers were each given S$300 composition fines

 

SINGAPORE — A man who breached Covid-19 safe distancing rules by co-organising an event on a yacht with several social media influencers, in order to promote his friend’s business, was fined S$7,000 on Tuesday (Sept 28).

Lim Tian Yi’s marketing event involved candle- and essential-oil making as well as photo-taking with 13 people in total. Many of them later posted photos of the gathering on their social media accounts, prompting a member of the public to report it to the authorities.

The four-hour event took place on Nov 18 last year, when only five people were allowed to gather for social purposes under the second phase of Singapore’s reopening after a partial lockdown.

Lim, a 36-year-old Singaporean who describes himself on Instagram as the founder of an “influencer marketing application”, pleaded guilty to one charge under Regulation 11 of the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020.

In sentencing Lim, District Judge Lorraine Ho took into consideration two other charges, including failing to wear a face mask on board the Panama-flagged pleasure craft Sunone.

Lim was the director of Appsolutely Technologies, which deals with the development of e-commerce applications, but was not acting in that capacity at the time of his offences.

WHAT HAPPENED

The court heard that sometime before November last year, Lim and his friend Lin Pei Ju — a Singapore permanent resident from Canada whom he knew as Annie — decided to work together to promote the Anaya Retreat brand.

Lin was a partner of the brand and was also the yacht’s manager, living and working in Singapore at the time. The 42-year-old has similarly been charged and her case is pending.

The influencers who attended the event have each been given composition fines of S$300.

Lim and Lin came to an agreement where he was in charge of bringing in influencers for the event, while she took charge of teaching them how to make candles and essential oils.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Teo Lu Jia told the court that the participants understood that photos would be taken and uploaded on social media for marketing purposes.

Before the event, Lim spoke to Ms Nicole Chen Lin, 34, who took on the responsibility of inviting influencers since she was one herself.

The yacht was berthed at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club from 3pm to 7pm on the day of the gathering.

Ms Chen invited most of the other participants, who were listed in court documents as:

  • Titus Low Kaide, 22

  • Audrey Chen Ying Fang, 29

  • Damian Tan Kar Sheng, 27

  • Sean Tan, 29

  • Walter Soh Yon Zheng, 24

  • Nicholas Joel Leong, 26

  • Kuek Zi Yi, 32

  • Chai Ann Gie, 28

  • Monica Tang Yifei, 34

  • Wang Zhiruo, 24

The participants were split into two groups during a pre-event briefing, reminded to wear masks when not eating or drinking, and told to take photos on the open-air deck.

The five male influencers took photos on the upper deck and the six women separately made candles and essential oils on the lower deck. They would then switch, with Ms Chen moving between the groups to ensure the event ran smoothly.

During the activities, none of them wore a mask despite not eating or drinking at the time. Food and drinks were served buffet style.

All of them save for Mr Damian Tan gathered to take a group photo.

DPP Teo said that the authorities began investigating when they received a complaint from a member of the public, after Lim uploaded photos on his social media and Facebook accounts.

FRIEND’S BUSINESS WAS DOING BADLY

DPP Teo, who asked for a S$7,000 to S$9,000 fine, acknowledged that there was “some attempt to segregate” the two groups but that Ms Chen had moved between them.

They also did not take precautions to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection such as wearing face masks, and posted the photos on social media even though they clearly broke the rules, he added.

In mitigation, Lim said that he was remorseful and that he had helped to pay some of the participants’ composition fines.

He added that he had tried to help Lin with her business that included a resort in Indonesia, which was doing poorly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She then asked him for help to get influencers to promote the brand in case borders reopened.

While he tried to raise a similar case involving a 12-person party on a yacht at Lazarus Island, DPP Teo noted that the partygoers there faced two charges each, while Lim faced three and was the event co-organiser.

Lim told the court that Ms Chen was the one who wanted 10 influencers on board and it was she who then said that it would be fine to split them into two groups.

“So it’s not like we secretly brought in so many people on board. We really tried to plan to make sure it’s two groups so we don’t have too many people in one group,” Lim said.

DPP Teo responded that Lim knew there would be more than 10 people and there was intermingling as shown in the photos.

He could have been jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$10,000, or punished with both, for breaching Covid-19 laws.

Related topics

court crime Covid-19 breach yacht event social media influencers

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