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Taiwanese woman jailed 11 weeks for sneezing in Singapore security guard’s direction, throwing killer litter

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Sun Szu-Yen arriving at the Singapore State Courts on May 20, 2020. — TODAY pic
Sun Szu-Yen arriving at the Singapore State Courts on May 20, 2020. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Sept 10 — Shortly after face masks were made mandatory to minimise the spread of Covid-19, Sun Szu-Yen and her 10-year-old son were stopped at Ion Orchard mall for failing to wear them.

The Taiwanese woman scolded the security guard, intentionally sneezed in her direction and told her to “shut up.”

Today, the 46-year-old was sentenced to 11 weeks’ jail.

At the time, she was in Singapore on a long-term visit pass, which is given to certain family members of Employment Pass or S Pass holders.

She had pleaded guilty in June to one charge each of causing alarm with abusive behaviour under the Protection from Harassment Act, and committed a rash act endangering human life.

In an unrelated incident, she had flung several items out of her third-floor condominium window last year, including a vacuum cleaner.

What happened

The court heard that on April 12, Sun and her son approached the Ion Orchard mall entrance at around 12.45pm. 

After a security guard recorded their particulars and contact details on a form, she reminded Sun and her son to wear a mask before entering the mall.

Instead, Sun wrapped her scarf around her mouth.

When the guard did not allow her into the mall, Sun pulled another scarf out of her bag and indicated that she would use it as a mask.

After she was again denied entry, she sneezed in the guard’s direction and said: “You get it? You get it already!” She then took her passport from her bag and said: “I am China, I am Taiwan.”

The guard asked her to leave but she took the form back and scribbled over her particulars so they could no longer be seen.

When the guard tried to stop her, Sun said: “Shut up” and “Do your work” before leaving.

This exchange was captured on closed circuit television footage. 

Separately, on June 4 last year, Sun threw several items out of her condominium window as she was feeling stressed and frustrated.

The items included a model globe, plastic chair, vacuum cleaner, glass bottle, pencils and a plastic garbage bin. Sun had seen that there was no one directly below the window before throwing them out.

A security guard at the condominium told Sun to calm down, but she refused and shouted that they could call the police. The guard proceeded to do so.

District Judge Seah Chi-Ling had called for reports to assess if Sun was suitable for community-based sentences, but she was not recommended for any of them.

She was not suffering from any mental disorder as well.

For harassment, Sun could have been fined up to S$5,000 RM15,202), jailed up to six months or both.

For endangering human life with a rash act, she could have been fined up to S$2,500, jailed up to six months or both. — TODAY

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