Sentenced to Four Weeks’ Imprisonment for Attempting to Bribe a Police Officer to Avoid COVID-19 Enforcement Action
As part of safe distancing measures introduced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce to break the COVID-19 transmission chain, everyone must wear a mask over their nose and mouth when outside of their homes unless exempted under the law1. Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, anyone caught not wearing a mask outside their ordinary place of residence faces a fine of S$300 for a first offence and S$1,000 for a second offence. Those caught trying to bribe their way out of COVID-19 related offences will face further punishment under the law.
2. On 23 October 2020, Chen Long (“陈龙”), a 28-year-old Chinese national on work permit in Singapore, was sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment for corruption.
3. Investigations by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) revealed that on 7 May 2020, a patrol team of four police officers from the Public Transport Security Command had spotted Chen at the area close to the smoking corner of Boon Lay MRT station with his mask pulled down and covering his neck area / chin only. The patrol team approached Chen and gestured to him to put on his mask properly, to which Chen complied. Shortly after, the patrol team spotted Chen again with his mask pulled down such that it did not cover his nose and mouth. The patrol team decided to bring Chen to a room in the MRT station to interview him. In the midst of the interview, Chen opened his wallet, showed the money in his wallet to Special Constable/Sergeant (SC/SGT) Chan Hui Shi and offered him S$50 to let him go. Chen’s intention was to bribe SC/SGT Chan so that the police team would refrain from taking enforcement action against him for breaching COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. SC/SGT Chan refused his offer and the matter was subsequently reported to the CPIB.
4. Chen was issued a notice of composition of $300 for breaching Regulation 3A(1)(a) under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020.
5. The CPIB would like to commend SC/SGT Chan Hui Shi for rejecting the bribe. Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption. It is a serious offence to offer bribes to public officers. Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to $100,000, imprisoned for up to 5 years, or to both.
Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau
 See COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 3A(2).