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Covid-19: Man fined S$14,000 for holding 13-person birthday party in converted illegal KTV outlet

SINGAPORE — When a group of men were unable to find customers for their live-streaming business, they converted their studio space into an illegal karaoke outlet and hosted a birthday celebration for 13 people in July.

Covid-19: Man fined S$14,000 for holding 13-person birthday party in converted illegal KTV outlet
Tan Check Liang pleaded guilty to one charge each of providing public entertainment without a licence, illegally supplying liquor and failing to ensure a studio space he used were closed to individuals.

SINGAPORE — When a group of men were unable to find customers for their live-streaming business, they converted their studio space into an illegal karaoke outlet and hosted a birthday celebration for 13 people in July.

Only five people were allowed to gather in public under Covid-19 laws at the time. The number of locally transmitted Covid-19 cases linked to KTV lounges and clubs was also growing, which would soon lead to tighter restrictions.

One of the men in the group, Tan Check Liang, was fined S$14,000 on Thursday (Dec 23). He pleaded guilty to one charge each of providing public entertainment without a licence, illegally supplying liquor and failing to ensure the premises were closed to individuals.

Two other Covid-19-related charges were taken into consideration for sentencing. Tan had been found in another underground KTV outlet in Geylang drinking alcohol with nine others.

The court heard that Tan’s accomplices were Jerome Lee Jia Jian, 31, and He Zemin, 38. Lee was fined S$13,000 and He was fined S$6,000 last month.

It was Lee’s idea to set up the live-streaming space and provide capital for the business. He was the sole proprietor of warehouse business Heng Heng Felicity, which occupied an office unit in a Tagore Lane industrial building at Upper Thomson.

Tan was tasked to find customers for the live-streaming business and was in charge of sales.

The office unit was renovated from February to April this year for this purpose but they could not find customers.

By May, Tan and Lee began to take in and install karaoke equipment and furniture, inviting their friends over to drink and sing.

Over time, they came up with a plan to charge people S$888 for alcohol and S$200 for the studio in order to cover the costs of the unit. Tan then sought He’s assistance to be a caretaker and clean and maintain the unit.

In the wee hours of July 18, police officers who were acting on information received went to the unit. There were 13 patrons there for a birthday celebration, with He preparing the liquor according to their requests and setting up the karaoke equipment.

Investigations revealed that the patrons had started arriving at the unit from around 9.30pm the previous evening.

The court heard that neither Tan nor He took any measures to reduce the risk of infection among the patrons, with no SafeEntry check-ins for contact tracing or temperature screenings.

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

Repeat offenders could receive a jail term of up to a year or a fine of up to S$20,000, or both.

Those who supply liquor or provide public entertainment without a valid licence can be fined up to S$20,000.

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Covid-19 court crime KTV karaoke breach birthday

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