On Tuesday (July 28), Tan Shiaw Wee, 47, pleaded guilty to one charge of using abusive behavior on a crowd controller and a second charge of removing his mask to cough at her.
He was allegedly irked by her while he was withdrawing money from an ATM outside Sheng Siong supermarket.
A third charge of using criminal force will be taken into consideration (for spraying hand sanitiser at the victim).
The prosecution is seeking two months jail against him.
Tan was at an ATM machine outside Sheng Siong at Block 451 Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 on the morning of April 22.
The victim Ng Poh Wei, 52, was a crowd controller at the outlet.
Ng reportedly removed her mask partially for 2 seconds to wipe her face while Tan was withdrawing money, Tan then scolded her for doing so and picked up a nearby hand sanitiser to spray it at her multiple times.
Ng then told him she would report the matter to the police.
Tan then removed his mask and intentionally coughed at her in retaliation before leaving the scene.
The whole incident was captured on CCTV.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew asked for 2 months jail, arguing that frontline workers should be assured of their protection.
Yew added: “There is a degree of malice in the accused coughing at the victim. In fact, it can be said to be an act of revenge. This is not an ordinary cough. This is a cough deliberately made at the victim during the ‘circuit breaker’. Let us not forget that Covid-19 can be fatal and is highly infectious, so the victim’s alarm must have been significant.”
District Judge Christopher goh asked Tan why he reacted the way he did over something “so minor”, to which he replied: “I’m very agitated, I was very agitated that she was using the airflow (of the aircon) to spread germs to me, that’s why I used the sanitiser to spray her.”
The judge said that he will be taking some time to think about the sentence and the case was then adjourned to August 31.
For intentionally causing alarm, Tan could be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$5,000, or both. For breaching a Covid-19 regulation by removing his mask without reasonable excuse, he could be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both.