/Group of more than 5 diners verbally abuses safe-distancing officer at Lau Pa Sat – Mothership.SG – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

Group of more than 5 diners verbally abuses safe-distancing officer at Lau Pa Sat – Mothership.SG – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

Covid-19 measures in Singapore were tightened recently, and the permissible group size for social gatherings has been reduced from eight persons to five persons.

The changes took effect from May 8, although as one might expect, there were people who were not quite as willing to abide by them.

A video uploaded to the Complaint Singapore Facebook page showed a group of diners shouting and verbally abusing a safe distancing ambassador, who was trying to tell the group that they were breaching Covid-19 regulations for being in a group of more than five people.

The video was uploaded on May 9 by Facebook user Max Mamba, who wrote: “Phase 2 many cases will come again”, like referencing co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce Lawrence Wong’s comment on May 4 that the country is “effectively back” in Phase 2.

During the video, many members of the group not only hurled vulgarities at the officer, but also gestured rudely at him, and acted in an intimidating manner towards him.

Groups of more than five are not allowed, even if split across multiple tables

The video began with the safe distancing ambassador telling a group of diners that they were only allowed to gather in groups of five, due to the recent tightening of Covid-19 measures.

However, a man in a grey t-shirt argued with the officer, saying that the group was sitting in separate tables.

When the officer told the man to listen to him calmly, the man in grey immediately raised his voice, questioning the officer’s authority.

“Who are you to ask me to listen to you? … You damn big f***,” he shouted.

Another man wearing a cap then cut into the conversation, asking the officer to call the police, and explain the “logic” behind them not being able to sit across different tables.

Last year, the government clarified that groups of more than five people, even if split across multiple tables, are not allowed in restaurants, unless they are all from the same household, according to the law.

Officer tried to defuse the situation

When the officer attempted to explain the regulations to the group, other members of the group continued to insist that they were sitting across different tables.

During this conversation, a woman’s voice, likely coming from the person recording the video, could be heard, pleading for the police to arrive.

After the officer explained the regulations again, the two men began to shout at him and jab their fingers towards his face, while advancing aggressively towards him.

At this point, the officer tried to calmly defuse the situation, as things got more heated.

“Never mind, you all scold, just scold. Never mind,” he said.

In response, the woman who was recording the video announced that she was filming the entire exchange.

The group then spoke to each other in Malay, expressing their confusion at the situation.

One of them asked: “Okay okay stop, then now we can’t eat here?”

Another then responded: “What do you mean by cannot eat?”

They told the officer to “learn the law”

Towards the tail end of the video, the man in the cap started shouting at the officer once again.

“I don’t understand what the hell you talking, you know! You don’t make sense, you know,” he shouted, as he continued gesturing at the officer.

As the officer began to move away from area, the group can be heard hurling vulgarities at him, with someone telling the officer to “learn the law properly first”.

To round off the video, a man’s voice could be clearly heard in the background, likely reflecting the group’s feelings about the situation.

“What kind of f***ing law,” he said, as the video came to a close.

You can see the full video here:

Police investigating

In response to queries posed to the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the police said that police investigations are currently ongoing.

This is the SPF’s response in full:

“On May 8, 2021 at 10:16pm, the Police received a call for assistance to a case of dispute at 18 Raffles Quay. No one was injured during the dispute. Police investigations into an offence of verbally abusing a public servant who was performing his duties as a Safe Distancing Enforcement Officer are ongoing”.