Indian-Origin Singaporean Jailed for Assaulting Volunteer Who Asked Him to Wear Mask Properly

An Indian-origin Singaporean has been sentenced to seven weeks in jail for assaulting a volunteer at a local food centre here after being asked to wear his mask properly as part of the safety measures to check the spread of the coronavirus.

K. Chandra Segaran, 58, who had earlier been released from prison for another assault offence in December 2020, hurled racial insults and punched Brandon Ong, an “Clean Ambassador” on duty to ensure people wear masks over their mouths properly in public places, The Straits Times reported on Monday.

Chandra, a driver, was sentenced to seven weeks in jail on Friday after he pleaded guilty to one count each of assault, harassment and an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Joseph Gwee said that on April 18, Ong and an auxiliary police officer spotted Chandra walking around the Maxwell Food Centre with his mask below his chin.

He was not consuming any food or drinks at the time. Ong asked Chandra to wear his mask properly but he ignored the volunteer.

When Ong repeated his request, Chandra punched the volunteer on the left side of his face and verbally abused him.

The auxiliary police officer’s body-worn camera recorded Chandra’s act.

“Whilst the victim was not a law enforcement officer or public servant in the strict sense, the victim was merely trying to request that the accused abide by the law. From the footage, we can hear that the accused had defiantly told the victim and the witness that he would give them trouble if they wanted it. The accused’s reaction was completely unwarranted and occurred after he had punched the victim on the face” the DPP said.

The SG Clean Ambassador network of volunteers was launched in March 2020.

For assault, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to SGD 5,000 (USD 3,681.94).

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