An IG User & 2 Websites Got ‘POFMA-ed’ for Allegations of Police ‘Bullying Elderly for Not Wearing Mask’

Ah POFMA, the slightly suspicious and contentious law that has been popping up these past few days. If you’ve been on social media, you might have even notified of a correction notice with regards to Delhi’s Chief Minister’s claim of a Singapore coronavirus variant.

But today, the correction notice was issued to an Instagram user and two websites for alleging that the police had been harassing an elderly woman.

Thankfully, Singapore isn’t the United States of America, aka land of the free. The story had turned out to be wildly different from what was spun.

An IG User & 2 Websites Got ‘POFMA-ed’ for Allegations of Police ‘Bullying Elderly for Not Wearing Mask’

According to The Straits Times, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to issue the correction directions.

Instagram user @nichology had posted a story of the incident, claiming that police officers had taunted and reprimanded an elderly woman for not wearing her mask.

In addition, Singapore Uncensored had run the story on their website while The Online Citizen Asia had shared his story on the same social media platform.

All parties will have to carry the correction notice as new posts.

And going by TOC Asia’s Facebook post, they don’t seem too happy about it.

The Initial Story

The Instagram user was quick to share that four police officers had clustered around the elderly woman and continued to “tell her off to the extent [that] someone had to come and salvage the situation.”

Apparently, she felt breathless and took off her mask.

User @nichology harshly commented, “Seriously sometimes I don’t understand what kind of people we hire as public servants.”

As it turns out, he was wrong…very wrong.

SPF Offers Clarification On What Actually Happened

Since then, MHA has already clarified that “[t]hese allegations are wholly false, and there is no basis for the claim that the police abused their authority.”

On SPF’s Facebook page, the police have also refuted such allegations, asserting that those allegations “are not true”.

According to their post, they had responded to the incident that occurred on 17 May at 6:43pm, at Block 743 Yishun Avenue 5.

There was an 85-year-old woman who appeared to be lost and officers were attending to her to help her find her way home.

A passer-by had offered their help, allowing the police to contact the elderly woman’s domestic helper after establishing that she had dementia and lived at a nearby block.

The incident occurred during dinner time, so the officers were concerned that the elderly woman might be hungry and bought food for her as well. No further police assistance was required after the elderly woman was handed over to her domestic helper safely.

Two other members of the public also stepped forward to aid the elderly woman by giving her extra free masks, an extremely important (and mandatory) accessory during a pandemic.

Officers also helped her put on the mask as she was unable to do so herself.

Read their full Facebook post here:

“The Police take a serious view of such malicious allegations,” they said.

They advised the public not to participate in the spreading of unverified information or make their own conjectures on an incident, and to be responsible when posting or sharing any information online.

Featured Image: Instagram (Nicholas Zayden Tan @nichology)