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Two men fined, jailed respectively for verbally abusing safe distancing officer, police officers

SINGAPORE — One man was upset with a safe distancing enforcement officer for telling his wife to go home when she was waiting to meet a customer at Hougang Mall, while another was drunk in public and verbally abused several police officers.

In one case, Christopher Arumutham, 56, was sentenced to 11 weeks’ jail after he admitted to hurling vulgarities at safe distancing officers and not wearing a face mask in public.

In one case, Christopher Arumutham, 56, was sentenced to 11 weeks’ jail after he admitted to hurling vulgarities at safe distancing officers and not wearing a face mask in public.

SINGAPORE — One man was upset with a safe distancing enforcement officer for telling his wife to go home when she was waiting to meet a customer at Hougang Mall, while another was drunk in public and verbally abused several police officers.

The first man, cleaner Abdul Halim Adi, 48, was fined S$3,500 in a district court on Wednesday (May 13) after he pleaded guilty to using abusive words towards a public servant.

The other man, Christopher Arumutham, 56, was sentenced to 11 weeks’ jail after admitting to four charges, including two under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020.

In addition to hurling vulgarities and not wearing a face mask in public, Christopher had turned up in court drunk when he was first charged last month and harassed a full-time national serviceman who was serving his police duties there.

ABDUL HALIM’S CASE

The court heard that on April 14, a safe distancing enforcement officer from the Housing and Development Board spotted Abdul Halim’s wife loitering outside Hougang Mall. 

She left when she saw the officer walking towards her.

She was waiting outside the mall to hand over a headscarf to a client in a transaction which is not considered an essential service, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Gail Wong.

The officer entered the mall a few minutes later and spotted Abdul Halim’s wife. He told her to go home and she agreed to. But instead she went to the mall’s basement to look for her husband who worked there. 

As she was telling her husband what had just happened, the enforcement officer walked by. 

Abdul Halim scolded Hokkien vulgarities at the officer and asked him why he had harassed his wife. The officer walked away and immediately called the police. 

DPP Wong said that 10 to 15 members of the public had witnessed the incident.

Abdul Halim could have been fined up to S$5,000, jailed up to a year or both.

CHRISTOPHER’S CASE

As for Christopher, the court heard that he left his home in Toa Payoh on the morning of April 18 without wearing a face mask.

He began drinking Chinese wine at about 6.30am while walking to the bus stop and then took several buses over the span of at least two hours.

He knew that once he started drinking, he could not stop as he would “get high”, said DPP Joshua Lim.

Eventually, Christopher alighted near the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex and bought some food and a bottle of whiskey.

At about 12.30pm, a safe distancing ambassador and his partner saw Christopher sitting at a public bench around Block 20, Toa Payoh Lorong 7. 

When the ambassador told him to go home, he did not comply and continued drinking instead.

He then stood up, walked in an aggressive manner towards the ambassador and verbally abused him.

The ambassador tried to get Christopher to return home for half an hour before two police officers arrived.

The police officers then tried to find out if he needed help getting home and if he had contact details of his family members but he remained incoherent and told them he had been drinking.  

When he was told he had breached circuit breaker measures, he grew angry, shouted multiple vulgarities at one of the police officers and challenged them to arrest him. 

He also grabbed one of the officer’s hands and pushed her away, and swung his hand at an off-duty traffic police officer who had intervened.

“The verbal abuse went on from 1.07pm to 1.34pm, even after he had been arrested and placed in the police car,” DPP Lim said.

Christopher had left his home for close to seven hours by that point.

When he was charged on April 22, he appeared in court reeking of alcohol, having drank two cans of beer during breakfast.

He grew impatient and agitated when some technical issues cropped up. After the issues were resolved and the charges were read to him, he aggressively confronted another police officer, staring at him and saying “f*** you”.

Other officers had to pull Christopher away but he continued staring at the officer and pointed his middle finger on two occasions.

In mitigation, Christopher — who did not have a lawyer — said he drank because his “job is a bit tough”. He told the court that he worked as a cleaner and regretted his actions.

While Christopher added that he “respects uniformed groups”, DPP Lim replied that this was not borne out by the facts.

Related topics

Covid-19 crime court

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