Covid-19: Booking firm director fined for lying about 10-person party on yacht near Lazarus Island
- Yacht booking broker Winnie Peng Yiyun arranged a 10-person party on a yacht near Lazarus Island in late 2020
- Covid-19 rules at the time imposed a five-person cap on gatherings
- Peng lied to the authorities that there were two separate bookings of five people each
- She was fined S$2,800 after pleading guilty to furnishing false information to a public servant
SINGAPORE — A yacht booking broker was fined S$2,800 on Thursday (July 21) for lying to the maritime authorities about a 10-person gathering on a yacht near Lazarus Island almost two years ago, which breached Covid-19 safe distancing laws.
Winnie Peng Yiyun said that two separate bookings were made for five people each, when the truth was, it was a single booking for 10 people.
The 31-year-old Singaporean, who was a director of Marine Bookings, pleaded guilty to furnishing false information to a public servant when legally bound to provide accurate information.
At the time of the yacht party on Dec 26 in 2020, Singapore was in the second phase of its reopening after a semi-lockdown, with a five-person cap on gatherings to curb the potential spread of Covid-19.
Members of the public had taken videos of the party, which circulated on social media.
Nine Britons and a Singapore permanent resident were each fined S$3,000 last year after pleading guilty to exceeding the maximum group size allowed.
The foreigners have been permanently banned from working here again, while the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said at the time that it would shorten the validity of the permanent resident’s re-entry permit on his next renewal.
The court heard that one of the Britons, Amy Georgina Hunt, contacted Marine Bookings in October 2020 to charter a yacht for the group.
Marine Bookings later sent her a booking confirmation for Dec 26 in 2020, from 11am to 5pm, for up to 10 guests.
There was no prior arrangement between the 10 party-goers as to whether, and how, they would divide themselves into two groups in order not to exceed the maximum permissible group size.
That day, the group met two crew members on the pleasure craft Advant at the marina of Sentosa Cove.
The yacht master gave them a pre-departure briefing, telling them to stay in two groups of five in front and at the back of the craft, not to mingle, and to wear a mask when not eating or drinking.
During the gathering, the groups intermingled, ate and drank, and went into the water intermittently.
They did not wear face masks at times and the yacht master observed that some were drunk. Sometime in the afternoon, members of the public saw them dancing and partying on the yacht.
The Maritime Port of Authority of Singapore (MPA) then began investigating the Covid-19 breach.
Peng became aware of the video footage that was circulating online and learned that MPA had called up Hunt and the permanent resident for investigations.
Peng then told Hunt to tell MPA that they had split the passenger list into groups of five and that the passengers did not know each other.
A senior marine officer from MPA then interviewed Peng and took a statement from her.
Peng lied and said that two separate bookings were made for five people each to charter Advant. She also claimed that the “up to 10 pax” reflected on a voyage pass issued to Hunt was a clerical error.
She also said that her staff member, not herself, had contacted Hunt the day after the gathering to tell her to split her group of 10 into two groups of five.
The senior marine officer made a police report against Peng on Feb 1 last year.
She could have been jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$5,000, or punished with both, for giving false information.
Related topicscourt crime false information Covid-19 Lazarus Island yacht breach
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