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Woman fined for co-hosting ‘frivolous’ social gathering of 18 during circuit breaker

SINGAPORE — A 32-year-old woman has been fined for her role in allowing an illegal social gathering of 18 people to take place at a Sengkang flat during the circuit breaker.

Cassie Ong Shi Hong was fined S$4,000 for allowing a social gathering involving 16 guests at a flat in Sengkang during the circuit breaker.

Cassie Ong Shi Hong was fined S$4,000 for allowing a social gathering involving 16 guests at a flat in Sengkang during the circuit breaker.

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  • Woman fined S$4,000 for hosting 16 guests at a gathering during the circuit breaker
  • She blamed it on her toxic relationship with her now ex-boyfriend
  • Her ex-boyfriend is scheduled to plead guilty next month

 

 

SINGAPORE — A 32-year-old woman has been fined for her role in allowing an illegal social gathering of 18 people to take place at a Sengkang flat during the circuit breaker when movement and activities were restricted.

On Wednesday (Aug 26), Cassie Ong Shi Hong was fined S$4,000 after she pleaded guilty to one charge under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) for permitting 16 guests to enter her residence to have dinner and drinks.

A second similar charge for meeting the guests was taken into consideration for her sentence.

GROUP GOT BIGGER THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Social gatherings were made illegal during the circuit breaker, which took place between April 7 and June 1, as Singapore had stepped up regulations to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lee Wei Liang told the court that despite this, Ong and 37-year-old Leong Chee Mun agreed to a suggestion made in a Whatsapp chat group to host a social gathering at their Compassvale Crescent home on May 8.

The pair were engaged at that time and were living together, but they have since broken up with each other, the court heard.

Two guests arrived at the home as early as 6am for breakfast, while the rest — who were either part of the WhatsApp chat group, or came to know of the gathering through someone in it — started arriving from 9pm onwards.

The last person arrived at around 1.15am the following morning.

The group, which consisted of individuals aged between 19 and 37, were eating, drinking alcohol, playing games and watching Netflix programmes until the police arrived at around 2.30am, DPP Lee said.

The prosecutor said that a police sergeant was deployed to the unit in response to a complaint made by a neighbour who reported that “a lot of youngsters” were entering and leaving the flat beside hers.

When the officer rang the doorbell to the unit, no one answered even though he heard hushing noises coming from within, DPP Lee said.

Leong finally opened the door when the officer persisted on knocking on it and ringing the doorbell repeatedly.

He then lied to the officer that he was sleeping, and that there was no one else within apart from him and Ong.

Leong admitted that there was a gathering in his home only when the officer confronted him about the noise he heard.

DPP Lee, who sought the fine imposed, said that the police later found 16 guests in the flat.

LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO GO ALONG

Seeking a fine of no more than S$3,000 for his client, Mr Cory Wong of Invictus Law Corporation argued that Ong had been in a “toxic relationship” with Leong and that she had “little choice but to go along” with Leong’s decision to host the gathering because she simply could not say "no" to him.

Furthermore, the flat belonged to Leong.

Mr Wong also said that Ong had to constantly report to Leong about her whereabouts and that the man had shown that he was “strongly opinionated, possessive and heavily chauvinistic".

The defence lawyer added that Ong was not close to most of the guests, who were Leong's immediate friends or their relatives.

"She was simply added to a chat group of Leong's own friends by Leong and she reiterates that she is not close to anyone in the chat," Mr Wong said.

As Leong was the one handling the invitations, Mr Wong said that his client did not know exactly how many people were coming over. However, he accepted that Ong had agreed to have the gathering and that his arguments did not qualify the guilty plea.

Mr Wong added that his client had a “big argument” with Leong immediately after the police left and has since “bitterly parted ways” with him.

In delivering her sentence, District Judge Ong Luan Tze said she appreciated that the accused might have been under some emotional pressure.

"But whatever her reasons for doing so, she had agreed to host this gathering during the circuit breaker period in blatant disregard for the rest of the community."

The judge added that the gathering was attended by many people for a "completely frivolous" reason, and that went on "for many hours, even past midnight".

For breaking a Covid-19 regulation, Ong could have been jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$10,000, or both.

Leong is scheduled to plead guilty next month, while most of the guests have already received fines for the gathering. 

Related topics

Covid-19 circuit breaker crime breach court

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