MP says woman in viral Shunfu market kerfuffle apprehended ‘on the spot’

Woman covers her face while being confronted by market-goers. Image: Umesh Kishore Tekani/Facebook
Woman covers her face while being confronted by market-goers. Image: Umesh Kishore Tekani/Facebook

Update: ‘Sovereign’ woman to be charged in court for assault, public nuisance, no mask

A woman at the center of a viral face mask-related kerfuffle at a wet market on Sunday was apprehended by the police straight away, the MP representing the area revealed online. 

Multiple videos of the incident at Shunfu Market circulated online yesterday, including clips that showed the 40-year-old Singaporean woman refusing to don the mandatory face mask and another where she called herself a “sovereign.”

“We cannot have such acts of irresponsibility while the whole of Singapore makes sacrifices and is fighting COVID-19 as one,” MP Chong Kee Hiong wrote online. He thanked the police for acting “swiftly.”

At least four police officers were at the scene, videos showed. Police told Coconuts Singapore today that they were called for assistance at 12:16pm. 

“The Police take a serious view of such abusive and irresponsible behaviour, especially in the current COVID-19 situation. We urge the public to take the circuit breaker measures seriously and comply with the safe distancing measures,” its statement read. The woman also allegedly assaulted another woman, 47, who had advised her to put on a face mask, it added.

In one of the clips, the woman was seen arguing with another woman who accused her of showing the middle finger.

Police said that she is being investigated for voluntarily causing hurt, causing a public nuisance, and breaching safe distancing measures under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations.

This is also not the woman’s first run-in with the law, police confirmed. She was also caught at the same market on April 14 without a face mask and subsequently fined S$300 (about US$200), according to the National Environment Agency. 

Photos of the woman at the time showed her allegedly filming police officers speaking to her. 

‘I’m not a person’

One of the clips that went viral yesterday also showed the woman covering her face with her arm as she called herself a “sovereign” while speaking to people who were trying to explain to her about the COVID-19 measures.

“I am a sovereign … it means I have nothing to do with the police, it means I have no contract with the police,” she said.

“That doesn’t even make sense,” a man responded to her from the background. “In Singapore, you have to follow the rules of Singapore.”

“That’s the thing, I’m not a person, I’m ‘we the people,’” she replied. 

Other videos showed her tussling with a man over what appeared to be her phone and refusing to accept a face mask from another man who was handing it to her.

Update: This story has been updated with statement from the police. 

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