'Sovereign' woman accused of failing to wear mask in public faces two additional charges

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
May 19, 2020

A woman accused of repeatedly failing to wear a mask in public during the coronavirus outbreak and who was seen in a video clip claiming to be a “sovereign” was handed two additional charges on Tuesday (May 19).

Singaporean Paramjeet Kaur, 41, who wore a mask in court, is now accused of failing to wear one over her nose and mouth at an Upper Thomson Road food stall at around 7.45pm on April 26.

She is also said to have failed to report her change of home address to a registration officer within 28 days after she moved in November last year.

Court documents state that she moved from a flat at Block 34, Whampoa West to a house in Jalan Ikan Merah near Upper Thomson Road.

Kaur is now represented by lawyer Anil Singh Sandhu. Lawyer Satwant Singh is no longer representing her.

The Singapore-born woman did not state her full name when asked to do so in court on Tuesday. 

Instead, Mr Anil Singh was the one who confirmed to District Judge Adam Nakhoda that she is his client.

When Kaur was later asked if she understood her additional charges, she replied: “I’m a living woman. I reserve my rights.”

Her bail was set at $10,000 on Tuesday and the case has been adjourned to June 2.

Judge Nakhoda said that she must not commit any offence while out on bail.

Kaur made headlines earlier this month after a video clip circulated online in which she claimed to be a “sovereign” during a heated argument when confronted by passers-by at Shunfu Mart near Upper Thomson Road.

“It means I have nothing to do with the police, it means I have no contract with the police. They have no say over me,” she says in the video.

A man, who is off-screen, responds: “This doesn’t even make any sense. If you’re a person in Singapore, you have to follow the rules of Singapore.” 

But Kaur replies: “That’s the thing - I’m not a person, I’m ‘we the people’.”

Chinese evening paper Lianhe Wanbao has quoted a woman, who identified herself as Kaur’s mother, as saying that her daughter is a physiotherapist who had lived in Australia for 20 years before returning to Singapore last year. 

Kaur was arrested on May 4 and appeared in court for the first time the next day.

She was then charged with one count of being a public nuisance and three counts of violating Covid-19 rules.

Earlier, Kaur was charged with failing to wear a mask over her nose and mouth when she went to a food stall in Upper Thomson Road at around 9.20pm on April 30.

She is similarly accused of not wearing a mask when she went to Shunfu Mart at around 12.20pm on May 3.

That same day, Kaur is said to have caused annoyance to the public by shouting loudly and creating a scene at the market.

She is also accused of eating at a table in front of a stall at Shunfu Mart at around 9.30am on April 14, seven days after circuit breaker measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus came into effect in Singapore on April 7. The measures include no dining at hawker centres.

Earlier this month, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said in a Facebook post that he had “checked up” what Kaur might have meant by claiming to be “sovereign”.

He said: “There is a movement in the United States, and adherents to that movement, (broadly speaking) reject Government, reject the police and any kind of authority... Such people should not live within society - she should not expect any of the benefits that come from this system of governance, including her security, medical care, other benefits.”

For failing to wear a mask over the nose and mouth, a first-time offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000.

The Straits Times

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