SINGAPORE - A recalcitrant offender, who hurled vulgarities at a police officer and verbally abused two public servants enforcing safe distancing measures four days later amid the coronavirus outbreak, was sentenced to seven months' jail on Wednesday (May 6).
Singaporean Ravi Sinathamby Subramaniam, 53, pleaded guilty last month to two harassment charges and one count of threatening to cause grievous hurt to the three public servants.
The trio were then deployed as safe distancing enforcement officers.
Five other charges, including one count of failing to wear a mask over his nose and mouth, were considered during sentencing.
The court heard that Ravi had been in and out of jail for earlier offences, such as drug consumption and robbery.
He was last convicted in court in December last year for offences, including using abusive language against public servants and assault.
He was then sentenced to 16 weeks' jail.
Ravi did not learn his lesson shortly after his release, and on April 14 this year, he left his home to meet a friend, who was not identified in court documents, near Block 74 Whampoa Drive at around 7pm.
Ravi was found drunk minutes later and started behaving in a disorderly manner.
The police were notified, and uniformed police sergeants Guo Junliang and Muhammad Shafiq Fazuli arrived soon after at a convenience store there.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh had earlier said: "When they arrived, they saw the accused standing in the queue at the said store, holding an opened can of beer, reeking of alcohol, and complaining loudly about why the queue was not properly organised."
When the officers spoke to Ravi, he turned aggressive, spoke loudly to them and refused to cooperate.
Ravi then hurled vulgarities at Sgt Guo and was arrested that evening.
He was released but re-offended just four days later at Block 81 Whampoa Drive.
He was wearing a mask, which covered only his chin, when two safe distancing enforcement officers spotted him.
When one of them asked him to wear the mask over his nose and mouth, Ravi turned aggressive and abused her with vulgar language.
He committed a similar offence against the woman's male colleague, who had intervened, the court heard.
The woman then called the police and Ravi went into a nearby convenience store.
After he stepped out, he told the pair and a third officer: "The next time I see you, I will break your face."
For each harassment charge, Ravi could have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.
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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.