COVID-be-damned Lazarus Island getaway ends up costing S$3K

Group photo of gathering on Lazarus island on Aug. 8, 2020. Photo: Facebook/San Kee Lim
Group photo of gathering on Lazarus island on Aug. 8, 2020. Photo: Facebook/San Kee Lim

Six people part of a dozen-strong gang busted for their Lazarus Island escape earlier this year were fined S$3,000 (US$2,200) each today for breaching COVID-19 laws.

The six fined for breaking the rule against gatherings of more than five were one Singaporean – 29-year-old Natalie Joanna Sarkies – and five Britons aged 30 to 32: Zoe Louise Cronk, Jeff Richard Alexander, Lowri Mair Jeffs, Richard Henri Lagesse, and William Edwin Dunford.

One other in their group has already faced the music for the August holiday. Briton Paul Jonathon Gold, 32, last month was the first of the gang to be fined. 

Penalties have yet to be handed out to the remaining five, which include four British nationals – Joshua Adam Roth, Edward John Joseph Lee-Bull, Helen Ann Sullivan, James Riby Oram Trimming – and Luong Thi Thu Ha of Vietnam.

Earlier in court, Sarkies, Cronk, and Lagesse apologized in front of the judge, saying that they “deeply” regretted their actions. 

The 12 had reportedly spent Aug. 8, the day before National Day, on the island located over 6 kilometers from the mainland. At the time, new daily infections still counted in the triple digits. 

Outrage echoed online after a photo of their gathering surfaced showing them posing on the beach. 

They face up to a year in jail and even larger fines should they re-offend.

The pandemic has largely subsided since then. Yesterday, Singapore counted seven new cases, all in those arriving from abroad. Since the outbreak began, a total of 58,190 cases have been reported; the official death toll stands at 28.

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