SINGAPORE – A student who returned from the United States last year and had to serve 14 days’ notice has left his hotel twice to have dinner and watch a movie with his friend.
He also requested to be taken to a hospital for psychiatric treatment, but used this as a stepping stone to spending more time shopping and dining elsewhere.
Ang Chenrui, a 27-year-old Singaporean, was jailed for five weeks on Thursday (January 6) after pleading guilty to two counts under the infectious disease law for violating his isolation. Two similar charges were considered in sentencing.
The court heard that Ang, who had been studying in the United States since 2016, returned to Singapore in March last year to spend time with his mother. He had to serve a stay-at-home notice in accordance with infection control regulations for Covid-19.
The following month, he left Singapore to return to the United States.
While in transit at Narita Airport in Japan, he experienced abdominal pain and sought medical treatment. He then took a flight to Singapore.
Ang arrived at Changi Airport on April 17 and received another order to stay home for 14 days.
He was to serve the order at the JW Marriott hotel, where he was given a one-time key card that allowed him to enter his room only once.
At the hotel, the elevators allowed customers to visit only the floors where their assigned rooms were located.
On April 20, Ang left his room in the morning and opened an unlocked door leading to an emergency staircase.
He went up to the 16th floor, which housed hotel guests who were not serving isolation orders.
From there he took the elevator to the ground floor, left the hotel and took a train to the Serangoon MRT station where he bought a cake before heading to the apartment. from his mother.
He stayed at the apartment until the evening and did not tell his mother that he was on notice to stay home. Instead, he lied, saying he had never left the country by plane and told her he lived in a rented room.
That evening, he left the apartment with his mother’s tenant to have dinner at a nearby cafe.
Ang and the tenant were friends. The tenant was also unaware that Ang was supposed to serve the stay-at-home notice.
The couple caught a movie at the Nex Mall in Serangoon Central, and Ang took a train back to the hotel.
Ang followed another guest in the elevator to the 16th floor and down the fire escape. When he reached the sixth floor, he found that the door leading to the hallway where his room was located was locked.
He came out on the fifth floor and called a member of hotel staff for help, claiming he had been locked out of his room as he tried to get rid of the trash.
Ang lied when he said he had come down to the fifth floor because the service phone on his level was damaged.
After escorting Ang to his room, the staff member’s suspicion was raised when he tried the service phone and found it to be working. He then alerted his colleagues and surveillance footage revealed Ang’s offense.
The court documents did not indicate what the hotel had done after this.
On April 24, Ang called the hotel front desk in the morning to request a visit to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). He was rushed to hospital, where he wandered for a few minutes before taking a private rental car to his mother’s apartment.
That afternoon he went shopping with the tenant on Orchard Road and they had dinner at a restaurant near Farrer Park before returning to the apartment.
Later, a member of the hotel staff checked Ang’s status with the OHI and was told that the hospital had no record of his registration for the consultation.
A hotel official alerted the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA).
The next day, CIA officers found Ang in the apartment and arrested him. He was admitted to the IMH where he served the remaining days of his home stay notice.
Investigators then followed his movements using recordings from his EZ-link transit card.
“THE HOTEL BEDROOM REMINDS HIM HIS FATHER”
Ang’s attorney, Michael Han, said his client was diagnosed with an adjustment reaction and had a history of maladjusting to the stressors in his life.
Ang did not do well in his A-level exams when he was a student at Hwa Chong Institution. Her parents also divorced in 2019, Mr. Han added.
The lawyer also said that the artistic decoration of Fairmont Singapore, the hotel where he isolated himself in March on his first return from the United States, reminded him of his father, who was an artist.
It reminded Ang of his troubled relationship with his father which led to his parents’ divorce and worsened his mental state, Mr. Han said.
For each violation of the infectious disease law, Ang could have been jailed for up to six months or fined up to S $ 10,000, or both.