Police accused of 'taunting' maskless woman, 85, in viral video were actually helping her home

PHOTO: Facebook/The Online Citizen Asia

Did four police officers really gang up on an elderly woman who took her mask off?

Through a series of Instagram stories, uploaded on Tuesday (May 18), a netizen alleged the police had "clustered an elderly auntie" on Monday evening and called their actions an "abuse of authority".

"These allegations are not true," the police said in a statement to AsiaOne.

The 85-year-old, whom the cameraman – using a mobile phone – had assumed to be a cardboard collector, was seen sitting in a public area without a mask, while four police officers stood a short distance away.

"Poor auntie already put back on her mask but [the police] continued to tell her off to the extent someone had to come and salvage the situation," the cameraman wrote in the captions, referring to a young lady captured standing beside the elderly woman. 

He pointed out a segment of the clip and claimed one of the officers had pointed at the elderly woman, and said: "You taunt others with your authority!" 

The police have since clarified that the elderly woman had appeared lost at the foot of a block at Yishun Avenue 5, and the police had approached her to provide her with assistance.

They established that she suffered from dementia, and that she lived in a nearby block with a domestic helper. While waiting for her helper to pick her up, the officers purchased a meal for her as they were "concerned that the elderly woman might be hungry".

A woman had stepped forward to offer a mask to the elderly, to which one of the officers helped her to wear, the police added. Another man had provided a couple of spare masks too.

No further assistance was required after her helper arrived.

The police reminded members of the public to be responsible when posting online, instead of spreading conjectures and unverified information.

They added: "The police take a serious view of such malicious allegations,"

Authorities are currently looking into the circulation of the allegations.