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The Straits Times
Nov 18, 2021
When a 43-year-old man was caught spitting, he refused to give his personal particulars to two Certis enforcement officers. Poh Liang Chai said he had Covid-19 – which was not true – and, when he entered a lift, officer Eswaran Kerishnan did not follow suit for safety reasons.
On Thursday (Nov 18), Poh pleaded guilty to one count of using threatening words towards a public servant and was fined $1,500, in default of which he will have to serve a one-week jail term.
Deputy public prosecutor Stephanie Chew told the court that Mr Eswaran was an auxiliary police officer empowered to take enforcement action on behalf of the National Environment Agency for offences such as littering, smoking, spitting and urinating.
He and his partner spotted Poh, who is a Singaporean, smoking outside the lift lobby of a Housing Board block in Tanglin Halt Road in the evening of July 3 this year.
After he spat twice into a drain, the officers approached him and explained the offence that Poh had committed. He started walking towards the lift lobby and refused to provide his particulars.
Mr Eswaran told Poh that he would have to call the police if he did not comply with the request.
DPP Chew said: "The accused challenged the (officer) to call the police and informed him that he did not want to wait. The accused also raised his voice, and, in the course of their interaction, said 'shut up’ and ‘I just kena Covid’.”
Poh was implying that he was infectious, said DPP Chew, adding that Poh was actually Covid-19 negative but had been on home quarantine until June 28 this year.
Mr Eswaran lodged a report later that day, about a case of an uncooperative subject.
In mitigation, Poh, who was unrepresented, said he is unemployed and that his family depends on his wife’s income.
He added that his wife and mother had tested positive for Covid-19.
He could have been fined up to $5,000, jailed up to 12 months or both.