A 40-year-old Singaporean on Monday (27 April) was charged with the offence of communicating a false message after posting false information regarding purported “enhanced” COVID-19 circuit breaker measures on Facebook.
Kenneth Lai Yong Hui had allegedly posted a claim in a group called “Taxiuncle” stating that he had received “intel” that the Government will roll out enhanced COVID-19 circuit breaker measures on 18 April.
In his post, he also alleged that food courts and coffee shops would close and that supermarkets would open only two days a week under the so-called new measures.
“Better go stock up your stuff for the next month or so. Govt officials in meeting yesterday and will finalize measures tomorrow,” he allegedly wrote.
According to the charge sheet, Mr Lai had allegedly posted the claim sometime before 20 April.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 21 April had announced the extension of the circuit breaker measures to 1 June.
Tighter regulations will be rolled out during the remaining circuit breaker period, including the closure of more workplaces to downsize the number of staff running essential services.
“It will mean some degradation of services … For example, less frequent grass cutting in our HDB estates. But I hope we all understand why this has to be done.
“We will implement these tighter measures until 4th May. But we will not be able to completely lift the restrictions after that, and go back to business as usual,” said Mr Lee.
Mr Lai, a taxi driver, is reportedly the first person to be charged with the offence during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Those found guilty of communicating false information may face up to three years in jail, a maximum fine of S$10,000, or both.
Mr Lai will return to court to plead guilty in court on 27 May.
“I’m very sorry and remorseful for what I had done,” he told the court today.