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Periyanayagam Appavoo arriving at the State Courts in Singapore July 27, 2021. — TODAY pic
Periyanayagam Appavoo arriving at the State Courts in Singapore July 27, 2021. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, July 28 — While being investigated for verbally abusing a cashier with racist comments related to Covid-19, Periyanayagam Appavoo hurled similar remarks at a Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) nurse.

He also choked another nurse who was attending to a patient before security officers had to restrain him to a trolley bed.

The 52-year-old stateless man was sentenced to five weeks’ jail yesterday, after pleading guilty to two harassment charges and one of using criminal force.

His past string of offences included drug consumption and snatch theft, and he received a probation sentence in 1988 for stealing a motor vehicle. 

He was most recently jailed in 2019 for crimes such as harassing a public servant, theft and voluntarily causing hurt.

The court heard that during his latest brush with the law, Periyanayagam went to the NTUC FairPrice supermarket outlet at Rivervale Plaza in Sengkang on April 23 last year, during the circuit breaker period when non-essential movement and activities were halted to curb the spread of Covid-19.

When a cashier noticed him trying to enter the supermarket from the exit, she stopped him and told him to go to the entrance. Contact-tracing procedures require shoppers to check in at entrances.

Periyanayagam left but returned shortly afterwards and scolded the Singaporean employee with a vulgar phrase. 

He also shouted at her, “You Chinese people bring Covid into Singapore”, and then threatened to beat her up.

When police officers interviewed Periyanayagam, he claimed that he had been drinking before the incident.

While being investigated for the supermarket incident, he reoffended on June 23.

He went to the accident and emergency department of SKH to seek treatment for double vision.

He behaved in an agitated manner at the triage area and threw his registration form to the ground. 

When a nurse tried to take his vital signs, he shouted at her and turned verbally abusive. 

While pointing his finger at her, he shouted: “You are a Chinese, Chinese people are stupid. I want an Indian doctor, the same Indian doctor who attended to me previously.”

Security officers stepped in and took him to a trolley bed nearby. When the nurse walked away, he used a vulgarity on her.

A doctor of Indian ethnicity then attended to him but he complained that she was “too fair” and refused to be examined by her, the court heard.

He then got up from the bed, walked up to a senior staff nurse who was looking after another patient, and used his hand to choke the nurse. The nurse managed to push him away and security officers stepped in to restrain him.

For using criminal force, Periyanayagam could have been jailed for up to three months or fined up to S$1,500 (RM4,668.70), or both.

For using threatening, abusive and insulting words, he could have been jailed for up to a year or fined up to S$10,000, or both. Those convicted of harassing a public service worker can receive twice that jail term. — TODAY

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