Father and son fined $3,000 each for hurling vulgarities at safe distancing officer

SINGAPORE – Hawker Seah Kian Huat, 64, hurled vulgarities at a safe distancing enforcement officer who told him to put on a mask and avoid sitting on a marked seat at Yuhua Village Food Centre in Jurong East.

His son, Roger Seah Hong Chiat, 40, who was helping his father at the stall, joined in and swore at the man when he saw the commotion.

They were fined $3,000 each on Monday (Nov 22) for abusive behaviour towards a public servant.

At around noon on Aug 21, a National Environment Agency (NEA) enforcement officer spotted stall owner Seah Kian Huat seated at one of the tables in the food centre with another man.

They had cups of coffee in front of them, but were not drinking and had their masks pulled down, said State Prosecutor Lam Peng Choy in court.

The stall owner was also seated on a marked seat that was cordoned off for safe distancing.

The NEA officer approached the men after observing them for some time.

Unhappy, Seah Kian Huat raised his voice and hurled Hokkien vulgarities at the officer.

He insisted he was waiting for his food to come and was going to drink his coffee. He followed with a racist remark and spat on the floor.

Roger Seah stepped out of the food stall to ask what had happened, and joined in to curse at the officer after his father caught him up.

He also told the enforcement officer and his colleague that he would “make them suffer”.

The officer called the police shortly after. Shouting could be heard in the background by the police over the phone, said the prosecution, who called for a fine of $3,000 to $4,000.

In his mitigation plea, Roger Seah asked the judge for leniency and said his business was not doing well.

His father said through a translator that he was about to begin a dialysis treatment, which would cost a lot of money. He added that he was unable to work now because of his condition.

Under the Protection from Harassment Act, the men could have faced a maximum punishment of 12 months’ jail and $5,000 in fines for offences in abusive behaviour towards a public servant.

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