Singapore minister serves hot dish of public shame to man who broke quarantine for ‘bak kut teh’

File photo of Bak Kut Teh. Photo: Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh/Facebook
File photo of Bak Kut Teh. Photo: Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh/Facebook

Law Minister K Shanmugam spoke from parliament yesterday to call out a citizen for going out to eat bak kut teh while under home quarantine. 

According to him, the man had gone out for a final meal last week despite being served a stay-home notice after returning from Myanmar requiring him to be at home at all times for 14 days. The man published a photo of his last supper on Facebook and apparently later deleted it. 

“I have asked for that case to be investigated,” Shanmugam said while speaking on measures the government would take to ensure compliance of its orders.  

“We are trying to verify some of these messages on stay-home notices being flouted. And if anyone, members of public, if we have information about such behavior, please give it to the police. We will follow up and we cannot allow such behavior,” he added. 

The man, identified as 33-year-old Alan Tham, told The Straits Times he mistakenly thought that the quarantine began the day after receiving the order, even though it clearly states a date of March 20, a photograph of the order shows. 

“I thought it started the next day,” he told the paper. 

Tham isn’t the only one who has been breaching quarantine orders. Last week, an online post saying that a quarantined woman was out partying circulated online. 

“Shortly after this, found out that a girl was out clubbing even though she was given a quarantine order. ‘Since I’m gonna be quarantine, might as well enjoy first.’ Tsk Tsk Tsk,” the post read.

Shanmugam singled out those returning from the United Kingdom, which he said have been the ones flouting the rules the most.

“Some of the messages that many of us have seen going around about recent returnees, particularly from the United Kingdom, that they are going out to eat local food, they hold birthday parties in their homes, they interact with friends, they go to clubs, bars, and so on while they were under Stay-Home notices,” he said. 

Travelers returning from abroad have to go straight into home quarantine for two weeks. Violators of a stay-home notice face six months’ jail time and a S$10,000 fine. 

Coronavirus cases in Singapore jumped to 631 yesterday after 73 new infections were reported, 38 of which were imported and 27 linked to known outbreak clusters or previous cases. Eight infections were of unknown origin. 

Two school clusters have emerged. Eighteen confirmed cases – 14 staff members and four family members – are linked to the PCFSparkletots preschool in Bedok North and another three cases involving the staff at Dover International School. 


Other stories you should see:

Singapore bars, cinemas, nightclubs to close till end-April due to COVID-19
Clubs, bars warned not to throw ‘farewell’ parties before Singapore nightlife goes dark

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