Fine for manager who wrongfully confined 3 foreign workers for 40 days amid Covid-19 outbreak

SINGAPORE – A company manager was fined $9,000 on Thursday (Sept 17) for wrongfully confining three foreign workers in a room for around 40 days over May and June amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The workers were first confined from May 12 to 15, and then over a five-week stretch, from May 19 to June 26.

Shaun Pang Tong Heng had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of wrongful confinement. The foreign workers are Indian nationals Ganesan Pandi, Pandiyan Jakakanthan and Muthuraj Thangaraj.

Three other similar charges involving the same men were considered during sentencing.

The court heard that Mr Md Noor E Adenaan, who represented the 41-year-old Singaporean, told District Judge Prem Raj that his client is remorseful.

Pang saw the men as “troublemakers”.

The lawyer said that during the outbreak, Mr Pandiyan and Mr Ganesan had left their place of residence in Tuas to buy alcohol despite being housed near a Covid-19 cluster.

Mr Md Noor added that Mr Pandiyan also drove a company lorry even though he had no licence to do so. As for Mr Muthuraj, the lawyer said he was previously caught for drink driving.

The court heard that the room the trio were confined in had clean beds, a bathroom, as well as Wi-Fi connection.

They were also given meals and ample water.

But Deputy Public Prosecutor Eric Hu said it was no excuse for Pang to take matters into his own hands.

Before handing out the sentence, the judge said that Pang should have notified the police about the workers.

For each count of wrongful confinement, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined.

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