Thursday, 7 May 2020

I am a Sovereign: Singapore woman who refused to wear face mask charged with breaking COVID-19 rules

Sovereign woman charged in court and remanded at IMH
By Shaffiq Alkhatib, Court Correspondent, The Straits Times, 6 Mar 2020

A woman accused of not wearing a mask at Shunfu Mart near Upper Thomson Road amid the coronavirus outbreak was charged in the district court yesterday with one count of being a public nuisance and three counts of violating COVID-19 rules.

Paramjeet Kaur, 40, who made headlines on Sunday after videos emerged of her claiming to be a "sovereign" when confronted at the market, allegedly failed to wear a mask when she was outside her home, as required by law, on more than one occasion.

Kaur was accused of failing to wear a mask over her nose and mouth when she went to a food stall in Upper Thomson Road at around 9.20pm on April 30.

She is similarly accused of not wearing a mask when she went to Shunfu Mart at around 12.20pm on Sunday. That same day, Kaur is said to have caused annoyance to the public by shouting loudly and creating a scene at the market.



She also allegedly ate at a table in front of a stall at Shunfu Mart at around 9.30am on April 14, seven days after circuit breaker measures began. The measures include no dining at hawker centres.

Kaur was arrested on Monday. She is represented by lawyer Satwant Singh.

Appearing in court via video-link from the Central Police Division building with a mask across her chin, Kaur said: "I am a living woman and that is my only capacity in this matter. I extend my sovereign immunity to Satwant and I asked Satwant to represent me."



In videos circulating online, the Singaporean, who was born here, can be seen claiming to be a "sovereign" while in a heated argument with passers-by.

"It means I have nothing to do with the police, it means I have no contract with the police. They have no say over me," she says.

A man, who is off-screen, responds: "This doesn't even make any sense. If you're a person in Singapore, you have to follow the rules of Singapore."

But the woman replies: "That's the thing - I'm not a person, I'm 'we the people'."

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam had commented on the incident on Monday, saying he checked what she might have meant by referring to herself as a "sovereign".



"There is a movement in the US, and adherents to that movement (broadly speaking) reject government, reject the police and any kind of authority," he wrote.

"Well and good. But then such people should not live within society - she should not expect any of the benefits that come from this system of governance, including her security, medical care, other benefits," he added.

A report by Chinese evening paper Lianhe Wanbao yesterday quoted a woman who identified herself as Kaur's mother, saying that Kaur is a physiotherapist who had lived in Australia for 20 years before returning last year.

Kaur will be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health and will be back in court on May 19.

























Woman filmed not wearing mask at Shunfu market and claiming police 'have no say' over her investigated for public nuisance
By Toh Ting Wei, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2020

A Singaporean woman who was filmed not wearing a mask at Shunfu Market and engaging passers-by in a heated argument has been arrested for assaulting a member of the public, causing public nuisance and not wearing a mask.

The police said in a statement that they arrested the 40-year-old woman at 9.10pm on Monday (May 4).

"Everyone should take the circuit breaker measures seriously. The police will not tolerate such blatant disregard of the law and wilful breaches of safe distancing measures.

"Let us all do our part to curb the spread of COVID-19," the police added.

The woman will be charged in court on Tuesday (May 5).



Videos of the altercations have been circulating online since Sunday afternoon.

In one clip, the woman says to a couple of other people: "You don't tell people what to do, that's the law."



One replies that she should not have made an indecent gesture, but the woman retorts: "You should have minded your own business... In the first place, you should not have been shouting at me."



In another clip, at a different location, she can be seen covering her face with her arm and holding on to a phone together with a 47-year-old woman, whom she allegedly assaulted, while arguing with another group of people.

In it, she claims to be a "sovereign", saying: "It means I have nothing to do with the police, it means I have no contract with the police. They have no say over me."

A man, who is off-screen, responds: "This doesn't even make any sense. If you're a person in Singapore, you have to follow the rules of Singapore."

But the woman replies: "That's the thing - I'm not a person, I'm 'we the people'."



Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam commented on the incident on Monday, and said in a Facebook post that he checked what she might have meant by referring to "sovereign".

"There is a movement in the US, and adherents to that movement, (broadly speaking) reject Government, reject the police and any kind of authority," he wrote.



"Well and good. But then such people should not live within society - she should not expect any of the benefits that come from this system of governance, including her security, medical care, other benefits," he added.

"If she doesn't follow the rules and (say) ends up infecting someone - why should society accept that? Or if she falls ill herself, she will be imposing a medical burden on the rest of the society - whose rules she rejects, presumably."

"Usually, in such cases, there will be more to it than meets the eye," the minister said.



The police had said on Sunday that they received a call for assistance around 12.15pm at 320 Shunfu Road. According to preliminary investigations, the woman in the video, who had previously breached safe distancing measures, was not wearing a mask and had allegedly assaulted a 47-year-old woman who advised her to put one on.





























 














































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