Singapore police is investigating another hate crime against an Indian family for not wearing a mask during the pandemic, a media report said on Thursday, days after a man of Chinese ethnicity was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman of Indian-origin. Police are investigating a 47-year-old man for public nuisance and uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of others in relation to an incident which took place at Pasir Ris Beach Park, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said on Thursday.
Preliminary investigations revealed that on May 2, at about 6pm, the man had allegedly uttered offensive remarks towards an Indian family and confronted a male member of the family for not wearing his mask at Pasir Ris Beach Park, police said in a news release, according to a report by Channel News Asia. Police did not identify the ethnicity of the man who made the alleged remarks.
The incident was first reported by Mothership (an online media outlet), which received footage of the encounter from the Indian family. In the video, the 47-year-old is seen shouting at another man. He accuses the man of not wearing a mask and of breaking social distancing rules, and asks where he served his National Service (a compulsory service for Singaporeans).
The alleged perpetrator also says this is my country and you are spreading the virus during the exchange, according to the Channel report. Police investigations are ongoing and the man is assisting with investigations, SPF said.
The offence of public nuisance carries a jail term of up to three months, a fine of up to SGD2,000, or both. Offenders who utter words with deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of any person face up to three years in prison, a fine of up to SGD 5,000, or both.
Last Friday, police arrested a 30-year-old man of Chinese ethnicity for allegedly assaulting a 55-year-old woman of Indian origin. The man was arrested for public nuisance, uttering words with intent to wound the racial feelings of others and voluntarily causing hurt, the SPF said on Tuesday.
The woman was walking along a walkway at Choa Chu Kang Drive at about 8.45am on May 7 when she was confronted by a Chinese couple who told her to wear her mask properly as a safety measure for the public in fight against COVID-19, said the SPF of the case earlier this week. Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has also told parliamentarians that Singapore will fail if the country allows racism and xenophobia to become prevalent.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Ministers have also condemned the attack on the woman who was brisk walking, one of the exercises for which wearing a face mask is exempted.
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