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Man in viral video fined for hurling racist remarks at minimart cashier during circuit breaker period

SINGAPORE — When Mohamed Ali Ramly tried to buy some soy milk from a Jurong West minimart, the cashier said she could not serve him as he was not wearing a face mask.

Mohamed Ali Ramly, 53, in a screen grab from the video of the incident that went viral on social media.

Mohamed Ali Ramly, 53, in a screen grab from the video of the incident that went viral on social media.

  • Mohamed Ali Ramly, 53, wanted to buy soy milk a week after the circuit breaker restrictions took effect
  • He forgot to wear a mask when he went out and was turned away from three shops
  • When he entered a Jurong West minimart and was also turned away, he spewed racial vulgarities at a cashier
  • Mohamed Ali’s lawyer said he was remorseful and had apologised at the time

 

SINGAPORE — When Mohamed Ali Ramly tried to buy some soy milk from a Jurong West minimart, the cashier said she could not serve him as he was not wearing a face mask.

He then verbally abused the Chinese national, hurling racial vulgarities and pointing his middle finger at her.

She filmed his tirade and uploaded the clip on Facebook, where it went viral.

Mohamed Ali was fined S$4,000 on Wednesday (Dec 9) after pleading guilty in a district court to breaching a Covid-19 control order, using abusive language and wounding the minimart employee’s racial feelings.

The 53-year-old Singaporean committed the offences on April 17, about a week after the circuit breaker restrictions were imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Masks had been made mandatory three days earlier.

He claimed that he had forgotten to wear one before cycling to the vicinity of Pioneer Mall and the MRT station. He visited three shops in the area but was turned away.

At about 6pm, he went to Li Li Cheng Minimart at Block 651, Jurong West Street 61 where he tried to buy a one-litre carton of soy milk.

When the cashier apologetically told him in broken English: “Sorry, no mask cannot”, he grew agitated and began verbally abusing her, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kenneth Kee told the court.

He questioned her about why he was denied service. She then decided to film his actions on her mobile phone.

In the 19-second video, he could be seen hurling vulgarities and saying things like: “Ask your f***ing president to go to hell man.”

She told him she would post the video on Facebook, and he said in response that he had merely forgotten his mask and only wanted to buy one item.

He then hurled more insults like “All the virus come from you guys lah”. He also pointed his middle finger at her again.

A member of the public who watched the video on Facebook lodged a police report the day after the incident.

RUSHING TO GET DRINK FOR INJURED WIFE

DPP Kee sought the fine imposed, pointing out that Mohamed Ali’s “extended tirade” was unprovoked and “entirely uncalled for”.

One of his lawyers, Ms Yamuna Balakrishnan, said in mitigation that her client was trying to get a drink for his wife who was “suffering from bodily pain”.

After failing to get one at three shops, he was trying to rush out of the victim’s minimart and pleaded for understanding but this fell on deaf ears, the lawyer added.

“Due to that moment of losing his temper, it resulted in those acts… Our client is extremely remorseful and is pleading guilty today. He even apologised that very minute, respectfully said ‘thank you very much’ and left the shop,” Ms Balakrishnan added.

As a musician, he has no more income as he cannot give live performances anymore. His wife is also unable to work as a nurse at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital after suffering an injury.

The family is supporting themselves with savings and they have a teenage son about to begin his tertiary education, the lawyer said.

For wounding racial feelings, Mohamed Ali could have been jailed for up to three years or fined, or both.

Related topics

verbal abuse facemask Covid-19 court crime

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