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Security officer jailed for breaching stay-home notice to work; another offender pleads guilty

SINGAPORE — Two Singaporeans who recently returned from Batam, Indonesia pleaded guilty on Wednesday (May 27) to breaching their 14-day stay-home notices, which are given to those returning from abroad to prevent more imported Covid-19 cases.

Zahari Samat (left) and Quresh Singh Sandhu outside the State Courts on May 13, 2020.

Zahari Samat (left) and Quresh Singh Sandhu outside the State Courts on May 13, 2020.

SINGAPORE — Two Singaporeans who recently returned from Batam, Indonesia pleaded guilty on Wednesday (May 27) to breaching their 14-day stay-home notices, which are given to those returning from abroad to prevent more imported Covid-19 cases.

Quresh Singh Sandhu, a security officer who works for a vendor of the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) integrated resort, was sentenced to six weeks’ jail.

The 28-year-old man admitted taking the train from his company’s accommodation to MBS and back over four days, before his supervisor found out what had happened.

Meanwhile, 60-year-old Zahari Samat will be sentenced next week. 

He left his home twice to go to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Building to change his address, and to buy food and cigarettes.

QURESH’S CASE

The court heard that Quresh was ordered to remain home from March 17 to 31. And yet, when he cleared immigration, he did not go to his declared residence at Sembawang Drive.

Instead, he took the train to MBS while not wearing a face mask and began working from 8pm to 8am the next day. He wore a mask while on the job.

He then went to his company’s lodging at Snooze Inn along Dunlop Street in Little India. He shared a room there with three co-workers and did not tell them about his stay-home notice.

He repeated his commuting routine over the next three days.

On the morning of March 21, his supervisor asked him to return home immediately after discovering he had been issued a stay-home notice. On the way back, he learnt from his father that ICA officers had visited their home.

Quresh gave his own mitigation plea, saying he had “made a grave mistake which I cannot undo” and that he deeply regretted his actions.

“I never wanted to unintentionally put public lives in danger. I am the sole breadwinner for my family. My father is also unemployed and grandmother is sickly,” he added.

He could have been jailed up to six months, fined up to S$10,000 or received both penalties under the Infectious Diseases Act.

ZAHARI’S CASE

Zahari returned from Batam on April 1. 

He claimed that the day before, his Indonesian friend had helped him to fill in an online health declaration form, indicating that Zahari’s place of accommodation was his nephew’s. This address was also on Zahari’s National Registration Identity Card.

When Zahari arrived at the Singapore Cruise Centre, an ICA officer served him with a stay-home notice. 

He then went to his own home on North Bridge Road, before leaving the next day to walk about five minutes to the ICA Building. He was not wearing a face mask at the time.

He told ICA officers that he wanted to change his address, and realised he had given the wrong one only when ICA sent him a text message asking him to report his location.

When the officers told him to stay at his North Bridge Road home, he went back. He was out for about 1.5 hours.

Six days later on April 8, he left again and walked for about 20 minutes to the Textile Centre along Jalan Sultan Road.

He bought chicken rice and some mineral water from a coffee shop there, before going to a nearby provision shop to get cigarettes. He came into contact with eight people at the coffee shop and two others at the provision store.

After going to a nearby open-air car park, he was arrested there by Central Narcotics Bureau officers. He was wearing a face mask.

Court documents did not state why he was nabbed by the officers.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Ti-Ting, who is seeking a S$5,000 fine, revealed that Zahari had committed robbery and trespassing offences in the past. 

Most recently, in 2010, he was sentenced to 5.5 years’ jail for drug trafficking.

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security officer stay-home notice breach court

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