Teens plead guilty after 'sampling' drinks and placing them back on shelf, posting video online

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
July 16, 2020

A teenager went to a supermarket amid the Covid-19 outbreak on Feb 6 and took two bottles of fruit juice from a refrigerated shelf.

Nigel Pang Yew Ming, 18, then sampled both drinks before replacing them back on the shelf.

(Nigel Pang Yew Ming, 17, at the State Courts on May 22, 2020. Photo: The Straits Times)

(Quek Xuan Zhi at the district court on April 9, 2020. Photo: The Straits Times)

Quek Xuan Zhi, 17, recorded his friend's antics and posted the video on Instagram, via an Instastory, with the caption "How to spread Wuhan virus".

Wuhan is a Chinese city that was the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak at the time.

In an earlier statement, the police said an acquaintance recorded a copy of the video and circulated it online.

The police added that this caused public alarm and concern.

The two Singaporean teenagers each pleaded guilty on Thursday (July 16) to one count of being a public nuisance.

At around 6.45pm on Feb 6, they went to a FairPrice outlet in Bukit Batok West Avenue 7 and Pang helped himself to the drinks.

Quek posted the video onto Instagram using an account which then had more than 1,300 followers.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh said: "Pang later paid for the two bottles of juice that he drank from. Pang knew that Quek would caption the video 'how to spread Wuhan virus' and post it on Instagram.

"Pang told Quek to highlight... that he had paid for the bottles of fruit juice, but Quek posted this information in a subsequent Instastory instead."

The DPP said that the video later gained traction on social media, with many members of the public expressing annoyance with the teenagers' antics.

A 21-year-old woman who came across the clip alerted the police on Feb 8.

On Thursday, DPP Koh said that due to the offenders' youth, rehabilitation is "at the forefront" in this case.

Deputy Principal District Judge Seah Chi-Ling then called for reports to assess their suitability for probation.

The teenagers are now out on bail of $3,000 each and they will be sentenced on Aug 27.

For being a public nuisance, an offender can be jailed for up to three months and fined up to $2,000.

View more photos of the duo in the gallery.

The Straits Times

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