Contrary to what most of us believed, money and anger aren’t the only motives for most crimes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, another seemingly ordinary activity has become so prized that people are willing to break the law for it.
I’m talking about eating outside your home, of course.
The most famous of such incidents would be the Bak Kut Teh guy, who breached his stay-home notice to have Bak Kut Teh outside. He later took a picture of it and shared it online.
But just a month later, another man went outside for some food with a friend, probably unaware that he would end up behind bars for it.
Visited a Friend While on Sick Leave
The man, Prabu Rajendran, works as a hotel concierge at Fullerton Hotel.
On 2 Apr, 2020, the 28-year-old went to work at around 1pm. He started to feel feverish, so he informed his supervisor and was told to see a doctor.
He left the hotel and visited Raffles Medical Clinic in Raffles Place. He told the doctor that he had a cough with phlegm and a runny nose, and was diagnosed with acute respiratory infection.
As with anyone who’s been diagnosed with this infection during the pandemic, Prabu was only given sick leave for five days from 2 Apr to 6 Apr last year.
The doctor told him he was required to stay home for the specified period and was only allowed to leave home if he needed medical assistance.
The hard copy of his medical certificate also stated that he was required by law to stay at home for these five days.
He was advised to ask his family for help if he needed food or to order food online.
When he reached home, Prabu took a nap and woke up at 9pm that day. His friend then invited him for dinner, at which point he had two options:
- Realise that it’s unlawful to leave his home and decline his friend’s invitation
- Postpone the dinner so he wouldn’t have to break the law
Naturally, he took secret option number 3, and left his home to have a meal at his friend’s house.
Despite exhibiting symptoms, Prabu didn’t wear a mask. He drank alcohol at his friend’s place and spent the night with her.
Caught in the Act After Falling Asleep in a Cab
Prabu took a taxi back home – once again without wearing a mask – and fell asleep along the way.
This would later be his undoing.
When he reached his destination, the cabbie was unable to get him to alight or pay the fare, so he called the police for help.
Officers arrived on the scene and tried to wake Prabu up. They eventually managed to do so and got him to alight.
But when they asked him to pay his fare, he became uncooperative and started raising his voice.
Since he couldn’t calm down, he was arrested and brought to Bedok Police Division headquarters.
His offences came to light when he was asked to fill a health declaration, as he said he was supposed to be on sick leave.
Fortunately, he was not carrying COVID-19.
Jailed 2 Weeks
On Wednesday (5 May), the 28-year-old was sentenced to two weeks’ jail for one charge of failing to stay home for five days while on medical leave for acute respiratory symptoms.
The prosecution sought a higher sentence, saying Prabu had “displayed a wanton disregard for the safety and well-being of the general public”.
He also never told the friend he visited that he was on sick leave.
For his offence, Prabu could have been jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both.
Featured Image: Google Maps
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