Police issues stern warning to S’porean Indian for offensive remarks against Indian national family at Pasir Ris Beach Park

Police issues stern warning to S’porean Indian for offensive remarks against Indian national family at Pasir Ris Beach Park

A Singaporean Indian was given a stern warning in relation to an incident that took place at Pasir Ris Beach Park over three months ago.

The 47-year-old man was investigated by police for allegedly causing public nuisance and uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of others.

Police also told CNA on Wednesday (18 August) that the man had shouted at the family and made other comments such as “back off” and “maintain your distance”.

“The investigations also revealed that the man stopped his behaviour after intervention from a member of the public without any further escalation,” police said.

On 13 May, police said that its preliminary investigations revealed that the man had allegedly uttered offensive remarks towards an Indian family at Pasir Ris Beach Park on 2 May at about 6pm.

The man had also allegedly confronted a male member of the family for not wearing his mask at the public park at the time of the incident, police added.

Incident went viral on social media — divided public opinion ensued

The case first came to light in the public eye when online media outlet Mothership.sg published an article on 10 May on the alleged verbal abuse hurled a Singaporean man against an expat family at Pasir Ris Beach Park.

“A man, who identified himself as a Singaporean, was caught on camera gesticulating wildly and repeatedly shouting and accusing an expatriate family of four of spreading the coronavirus here,” Mothership wrote.

“The unsavory incident occurred at Pasir Ris Beach Park on Sunday, May 2, 2021, slightly after 6pm,” the outlet added.

Mothership noted that the video sent to them of the incident was captured by the expat’s wife.

The wife said in an email to Mothership that her family was shocked to witness the unprovoked “racial comments” directed at them.

The family was said to have been in Singapore for 10 years at the time of the incident. The incident at hand, however, was their first throughout their time in the country.

She told Mothership that she was concerned that her children would be most affected by the incident.

The wife alleged that the Singaporean man taunted her family initially by continuously shouting in their direction: “Bloody Indians go back, spreading virus here.”

She said her family ignored the man’s taunts at first.

However, when her family crossed his path again later, the man repeated his taunts, she claimed.

She said her husband then went up to the man and told him he “cannot call us as bloody Indian” as “it’s a slang”.

“He reacted, took out his mobile and said he will put a video of us on social media, and that we are the Indians spreading virus here,” she said.

“At this point I took out my mobile phone and started taking a video of him.”

However, the video, which was put up by Mothership on its YouTube channel, did not show the man taunting.

The wife explained to Mothership: “He changed the point later as a mask issue, but the taunts were very clear. While India is gasping for life, these taunts stung as very hurtful comments.”

Comments on Mothership’s Facebook post were largely in support of the Singaporean man.

A significant number of comments, however, criticised him for being xenophobic, even though he did not say the words that he was accused of saying in the video.

S’porean served in Singapore Armoured Regiment

In the video, the man said that he is a Singaporean who had served his NS at the 41st Singapore Armoured Regiment.

He asked the expat, “Where did you serve your NS?”

He then continued, “What is your problem? You don’t come here and challenge us.”

“I’m not talking to you. You are not wearing your mask. You must maintain a safe distance.”

“You don’t come here talk so much, I wasn’t talking to you.”

“This is my country. Back off. Maintain your distance.”

“You are coming here. You are spreading the virus.”

“This will go to social media.”

In response to the Singaporean man’s repeated accusations, the expat could be heard asking at various points, “Why did you say ‘Bloody Indians’?”

The wife said that the incident ended when her family backed off and by then other people had stepped in. “A few local Singaporeans were explaining to him to cool down as we made a move out,” she said.

“Our prayers are definitely with the whole Indian community suffering in India right now. We have resided in Singapore for 10 years now, and love this country as our own.”

The stern warning given by police to the Singaporean man on 22 June was handed out in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The warning was specifically made pursuant to Section 4(2) of the Protection from Harassment Act, which entails the offence of causing alarm.

A person found guilty of public nuisance may be subjected to a jail term of up to three months, a fine of up to S$2,000, or both.

Those found guilty of uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of any person face up to three years in prison, a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.

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