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Phoon Chiu Yoke arrives at the State Courts on July 6, 2021. ― TODAY pic
Phoon Chiu Yoke arrives at the State Courts on July 6, 2021. ― TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, July 25 — A 54-year-old woman captured in viral videos without wearing a face mask in public places was hauled back to court yesterday and handed a fresh charge of going maskless in Mandarin Orchard hotel.

Phoon Chiu Yoke, who gained notoriety in May after a video of her questioning a safe distancing ambassador at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) went viral, now faces a total of 22 charges.

Apart from failing to wear a mask in public on numerous occasions, Phoon is also charged with breaching a stay-home notice in June last year, when she returned from the United Kingdom.

She claimed to have returned from a vacation in Scotland.

The period of her alleged offences now spans from June 28 last year to June 25 this year.

For the latest charge, court documents showed that Phoon failed to wear a mask in Mandarin Orchard hotel at 3.03pm on June 25.

Her bail of S$12,000 — which was raised from S$8,000 earlier this month — was revoked.

This means that she will be in remand from Saturday onwards.

Phoon will return to court for a pre-trial conference on July 26.

Background

Phoon was initially charged in December last year with not wearing a mask at Newton Food Centre. When she returned to court in May for her trial, she was photographed removing her mask and smiling at news photographers as she left the State Courts.

She was hauled back to court the next day where she claimed that she did not know she had to wear a mask in public and found it “very abnormal”.

She was then referred to the Institute of Mental Health for two weeks for a psychiatric assessment but details of this have not been revealed in open court.

In the first video which surfaced of her video taken at MBS, Phoon was heard questioning a safe distancing ambassador: “If you have no badge, why are you asking me to do something? Who are you representing?”

Phoon allegedly entered the shopping complex in the integrated resort without wearing a mask, despite repeated advice from the safe distancing ambassador to do so.

If convicted, Phoon could face a jail term of up to six months or a fine of up to S$10,000, or both, for each of the 22 charges. — TODAY

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