The trial continues: ‘Badge lady’ carries on arguing after flouting more COVID-19 mask rules

Phoon Chiu Yoke, aka ‘MBS Lady,’ in a still image from a clip recorded at Marina Bay Sands and republished by The Online Citizen.
Phoon Chiu Yoke, aka ‘MBS Lady,’ in a still image from a clip recorded at Marina Bay Sands and republished by The Online Citizen.

A 55-year-old woman who repeatedly refused to wear a mask when it was legally mandated in Singapore continues to defend herself even after serving time for previous mask-related offenses.

Phoon Chiu Yoke, dubbed the “badge lady,” was in court yesterday contesting her four charges for not wearing a mask around Orchard and for failing to show up to an investigatory hearing by the Singapore Tourism Board.

During her cross-examination of the prosecution’s witnesses, Phoon asked one of two ION Orchard security officers testifying if he had actually seen her on the escalator without a mask in August last year, and how he could be sure that she wasn’t “eating, drinking or consuming medicine” when approached her from behind.

“You approached me from the back. How do you know I was not consuming medicine or chewing something in my mouth?” Phoon said.

There also weren’t any signs telling shoppers at the mall to wear their masks, she added.

Video footage of Phoon walking around the mall without a mask on was played during court session.

When called to the stand, one security officer said she “turned away without giving any words” after he told Phoon to wear a mask. 

Phoon then argued that she did wear a mask soon after, to which the security officer replied that it was their duty to “advise” shoppers to put it on first before asking them to leave after refusing the second time.

Phoon also cross-examined another security guard and questioned whether the surveillance footage retrieved wasn’t edited. She asked if he had compared the raw footage to the downloaded version “second by second.”

She even tried to argue that it wasn’t her in the footage, since it only shows her from the back.

Phoon was sentenced to 16 weeks in jail in September 2021 months after a video of her refusing to mask up at the Marina Bay Sands resort went viral. 

She was recorded telling off social distancing monitors trying to make her put on a mask and demanding to see their “badge” which led to her being dubbed the “MBS lady” first before her nickname evolved into the “badge lady.” 

If found guilty of failing to wear a mask in this latest proceeding, Phoon could be jailed for up to a year with a S$20,000 fine.

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