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Man pleads guilty to helping unvaccinated friend enter Sentosa bar using his TraceTogether app

SINGAPORE — A 37-year-old man pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday (Feb 9) to helping his unvaccinated friend circumvent Covid-19 rules in order to enter a bar, by letting him use his TraceTogether mobile application.

Man pleads guilty to helping unvaccinated friend enter Sentosa bar using his TraceTogether app
Kiran Singh Rughbir Singh leaves the State Courts on Feb 9, 2022.

SINGAPORE — A 37-year-old man pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday (Feb 9) to helping his unvaccinated friend circumvent Covid-19 rules in order to enter a bar, by letting him use his TraceTogether mobile application.

Kiran Singh Rughbir Singh, a Malaysian who worked as a store manager, admitted to one count of cheating by personation.

He has not been sentenced because his lawyer asked for time to prepare his mitigation plea. He will return to court on Feb 25.

Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) regulations, food-and-beverage establishments, as well as retail liquor businesses, are permitted to allow only fully vaccinated individuals to eat or drink on their premises.

The court heard that Kiran and his girlfriend met his friend — Utheyakumar Nallathamby, a 65-year-old retiree — on the afternoon of Sept 9 last year and went for drinks on Sentosa Island.

The trio first went to Coastes Bar there but left when they saw that it was crowded. When they went to Bikini Bar, Kiran was able to get in by showing his vaccination status in the app to an employee at the entrance.

When Utheyakumar tried to follow suit, the assistant manager denied him entry due to his unvaccinated status. The group then decided to leave.

Kiran suggested that they return to Coastes Bar and that Utheyakumar could get in using Kiran’s TraceTogether app and vaccination status.

Utheyakumar agreed and took Kiran’s phone, then proceeded to Coastes Bar with Kiran’s girlfriend while Kiran waited outside.

The older man managed to get into the bar by tapping Kiran’s phone with the TraceTogether app open against the SafeEntry Gateway device. He also verbally confirmed that his vaccination status was correct.

While the pair were drinking at a table, the assistant manager from Bikini Bar spotted Utheyakumar and recognised him from having earlier denied him entry.

She alerted Coastes Bar’s managers, who immediately checked Utheyakumar’s phone and realised it was Kiran’s.

A compliance manager for Sentosa Development Corporation then lodged a police report one week later. Following investigations, Kiran and Utheyakumar were arrested on Dec 13 last year.

Utheyakumar has also been charged and his case is pending.

The prosecution is seeking three weeks' jail for Kiran, arguing that he committed the offence in a "bid to gratify his selfish desire" by sneaking his friend into the bar.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shen Wanqin said in her sentencing submissions that the offence was "committed in the context of an attempt to circumvent public health protocols during a pandemic".

She invited the court to "impose a harsher sentence, with a view to nipping (in the bud) the problem of pandemic fraud, and to send a strong signal to would-be offenders that such conduct would be met with stern punishment".

Those convicted of cheating by personation can be fined or jailed for up to five years, or punished with both.

Related topics

court crime Covid-19 vaccination bar Sentosa TraceTogether breach F&B

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