Clarke Quay gathering: Youth who helped film 'Spider-Man' admits breaching Covid-19 rules

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
June 20, 2022

A youth who operated a camera that recorded the antics of a man dressed in a Spider-Man costume during a New Year's gathering near Clarke Quay in January has admitted to breaching Covid-19 regulations.

Lee Hern Sing, now 20, pleaded guilty on Monday (June 20) to an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

The court heard that he intentionally gathered with numerous people in public amid the pandemic to capture video footage for content creator Kotra Venkata Sai Rohankrishna's YouTube channel. 

At the time of the incident, Kotra wore the Spider-Man costume while another teenager, Glaxy Low Xuan Ming, donned a wrestling mask.

The two 19-year-olds were dealt with in court earlier for flouting Covid-19 rules.

On May 31, Kotra was fined $4,000 while Low was fined $2,000 on April 26.

For the current case, Deputy Public Prosecutor Wu Yu Jie said Lee met Kotra and Low in Prinsep Street before 11pm on Dec 31 last year.

Kotra had come up with an idea to film interviews featuring members of the public for his YouTube channel. Lee and Low agreed to help him.

Kotra and Low looked out for interviewees when they reached Clarke Quay later that evening.

The DPP added: "When (Kotra) and Glaxy interacted with members of the public (in the surrounding area), the accused was present as well to operate the camera and lighting equipment."

One of the interviewees, Assiddiq Surani, 22, was fined $1,700 on June 10 after he pleaded guilty to an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

Videos posted online show a rowdy crowd cheering, singing and celebrating, in what the authorities called a blatant flouting of Covid-19 safe management rules and a potential super-spreader event.

To date, multiple men have been fined $1,500 each for breaching Covid-19 regulations. Two students who faced more than one charge each were fined $2,000 and $3,000 respectively on March 8.

In an earlier statement, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said 14 people had been hauled to court for the incident, while 19 people had been issued composition fines.

On Monday, defence lawyer Tan Hee Joek urged the court to call for a report to assess his client's suitability for probation.

He told District Judge Brenda Chua that Lee was a "perfect candidate" for probation, adding: "With respect to the spontaneous countdown party... Hern Sing did not participate in it. He was wearing a mask at all times and he had taken effort to avoid the crowd by staying away from a distance from the spontaneous celebration when it suddenly happened at Clarke Quay.

"Hern Sing did not intermingle with other strangers as well because he was helping with the camera and light the whole time."

DPP Wu, however, objected to the calling for such a report, stressing that for Kotra's case, a similar request was made but it was rejected.

Instead, the prosecutor asked for Lee to be given a fine of at least $1,500.

After hearing both sides, Judge Chua decided to call for a probation suitability report for Lee as she felt that Kotra had a higher culpability in the incident.

In an earlier proceeding, the court heard that Kotra was the mastermind in the case.

Lee is expected to be sentenced on Aug 1.

For committing an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, a first-time offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

A repeat offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000.

The Straits Times

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