Singapore to Deport Briton Who Refused to Wear Mask, Reports Say
(Bloomberg) -- Singapore will deport a U.K. national who repeatedly refused to wear a mask in defiance of the Asian city-state’s strict social distancing rules, CNA reported.
Photos of Benjamin Glynn not wearing a mask on a train in Singapore’s central business district went viral, and he was charged for that violation as well as subsequently showing up for a court appearance without a mask.
According to the Straits Times, Glynn during the court trial said he was a “sovereign” to whom the charges didn’t apply, an argument the Singaporean court rejected. Police officers testified Glynn had told them Covid-19 was a “hoax” and that vaccines were bad for human health, the newspaper reported.
Failing to wear a mask in Singapore can carry criminal penalties including a jail term of as much as six months and fines of S$10,000 ($7,329). For non-citizens, a court conviction for social distancing violations in many cases also means swift removal from the country -- the government can either deport them or revoke existing work permits and ban the people from future employment in the country.
Glynn was sentenced to six weeks’ jail, backdated to when he was first remanded and then reduced for good behavior, the Straits Times said. He was handed over Wednesday to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, which will facilitate the deportation.
When he returns to the U.K., Glynn will face a starkly different environment, where masks are encouraged but generally not mandated. However, if he’s on a train in London’s business hub, he’d still be required to wear a mask, as Transport For London requires face coverings throughout the transit network in all trains and stations.
Singapore, like a handful of other places in the Asia Pacific region with a zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19, has strictly upheld social distancing measures and border curbs to stamp out local transmission. But as major western economies open up, they’re struggling to find a path to normalization, especially as the new delta variant drives resurgences across the world.
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