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Security officer who took public transport to work among 3 charged with breaching stay-home notices

SINGAPORE — Three Singaporean men were charged in court on Wednesday (May 13) with breaching their two-week stay-home notices, becoming the latest in a string of people hauled to court for doing so.

From left: Quresh Singh Sandhu, Azhar Khamis and Zahari Samat were charged with breaching their two-week stay-home notices in court on May 13, 2020.

From left: Quresh Singh Sandhu, Azhar Khamis and Zahari Samat were charged with breaching their two-week stay-home notices in court on May 13, 2020.

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SINGAPORE — Three Singaporean men were charged in court on Wednesday (May 13) with breaching their two-week stay-home notices, becoming the latest in a string of people hauled to court for doing so.

Stay-home notices are issued to those returning from abroad to prevent the spread of imported Covid-19 cases.

The three men, who had all returned from Batam, Indonesia, are:

Quresh Singh Sandhu, 28

He returned on March 17 and was ordered to stay home until March 31, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

ICA added that instead of returning to his declared residence at Sembawang Drive, he took public transport to the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) integrated resort where he worked as a security officer. MBS told TODAY that he was employed by its vendor. 

After leaving work the next day, he is said to have taken public transport to his company’s lodging — Snooze Inn along Dunlop Street — where he shared a room with three co-workers.

For the next three days, he commuted to work every day by public transport, ICA said. Court documents showed that he visited the Little India, Bayfront and Rochor MRT Stations.

The authorities discovered his breach on March 21 when enforcement officers found out he was not at his Sembawang Drive residence.

Quresh faces one charge under the Infectious Diseases Act. He said on Wednesday that he intends to plead guilty, and will return to court on May 27.

Azhar Khamis, 54

ICA said that Azhar returned on March 26, but spent that night at his sister’s Serangoon home instead of returning to his home at Tampines Street 21. 

Azhar, who was supposed to have stayed home until April 9, allegedly spent some time in public areas at HarbourFront over the next few days. 

ICA enforcement officers found him at the Singapore Cruise Centre on April 5, after discovering he was not home.

Azhar’s pro bono lawyer, Mr Yeo Wei Chiang, told the court that Azhar is homeless and that there are “certain special circumstances not typical to such cases”.

Azhar, who faces one charge under the Infectious Diseases (Covid-19 — Stay Orders) Regulations 2020, will return to court on May 29 for a pre-trial conference.

Zahari Samat, 60

Zahari was served a stay-home notice from April 1 to 15, but was eventually arrested by Central Narcotics Bureau officers at an open-air car park halfway through the period, ICA said.

The day he returned to Singapore, he went to a rental address at North Bridge Road instead of his declared residence in Ang Mo Kio, ICA added.

The next day, he went to the ICA Building in Lavender and told an officer he had given an outdated address in his electronic health declaration and wanted to update it. 

ICA officers advised him to return to his North Bridge Road accommodation immediately and reminded him to remain there for the period of the stay-home notice.

He now faces two charges under the Infectious Diseases (Covid-19 — Stay Orders) Regulations 2020.

On Wednesday, he told the court that he wants to admit to his charges and asked for a one-month adjournment to raise enough money to pay the fine. “I would like to plead leniency for my silly mistake,” he added.

District Judge Clement Tan said he wanted the matter “dealt with expeditiously” and ordered him to return to court in two weeks to plead guilty.

So far, two individuals have been dealt with in court for breaching their stay-home notices. Alan Tham Xiang Sheng, 34, was jailed six weeks for doing so to have a bak kut teh (pork rib soup) meal, among other things.

The second person, 47-year-old Chong Chun Wah, was jailed five weeks after returning from Batam, Indonesia.

Another 64-year-old man was charged on Monday with breaching his notice five times, once having purportedly left his Jalan Sultan flat to buy some lunch and going to an open area nearby to consume his food.

Related topics

stay-home notice court Covid-19 coronavirus

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