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Phoon Chiu Yoke outside the State Courts on May 24, 2021. — TODAY pic
Phoon Chiu Yoke outside the State Courts on May 24, 2021. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Aug 13 — A 54-year-old woman captured in videos not wearing a face mask in several public places reappeared in court via video-link yesterday (August 12), represented by a lawyer for the first time. Her bid to be released from remand was denied again.

Phoon Chiu Yoke was set to plead guilty but her new lawyer, Amos Cai from law firm Yuen Law, asked for more time to take instructions from her. He said that he had spoken to her for the first time just before the court hearing.

She appeared in court via video-link with a mask worn below her nose for most of the hearing.

Phoon gained notoriety in May after a video of her questioning a safe distancing ambassador at Marina Bay Sands was circulated online.

She faces 22 charges in total, mostly for breaching Covid-19 regulations, including one charge for turning up at the State Courts without a mask in May.

Yesterday, Cai told the court that Phoon’s family had engaged him earlier this week and that he had booked a tele-interview slot with Phoon this morning. She has been in remand since July 24 after her bail of S$12,000 was revoked.

Phoon told the court last Wednesday that she has accepted the prosecution’s offer to proceed on nine charges and have the others taken into consideration for sentencing.

Cai added yesterday that his client still intends to plead guilty and that he was appointed to handle the mitigation plea and sentencing submissions.

Asking for a two- to three-week adjournment, Cai said: “It might take me several more interviews with my client to confirm her intention.”

The prosecution did not object. Phoon’s case is fixed for pre-trial conference today after Cai concludes his tele-interview.

Bail request rejected

Through her lawyer, Phoon again asked to be released from remand, referring to her medical history.

Cai said: “I understand she has a broken foot, a dislocated ankle, an injured knee that was recently aggravated, spinal injury and previous head concussions.”

He added that Phoon has instructed him that the Singapore Armed Forces — where she claimed she was an “ex-naval officer of professional standing” — would have access to these records.

She also claimed that she only realised the severity of her offences after her bail was increased from S$8,000 (RM24,938) to S$12,000 on July 6 and had not reoffended since.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim objected, saying that Phoon had reoffended as recently as June 25 this year, shortly after she was released on bail.

District Judge Carol Ling rejected her application to be released from remand.

If convicted under Covid-19 laws, 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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