'Sovereign' woman gets 2 weeks' jail, fine for breaching Covid-19 regulations

Paramjeet Kaur faced seven charges, four of which were for breaching Covid-19 regulations.
PHOTO: The Straits Times and Screengrab/YouTube/Sean

SINGAPORE - The woman who claimed she was a "sovereign" when told to wear a mask in public was sentenced to two weeks’ jail and a $2,000 fine on Friday (May 7). 

Paramjeet Kaur, 41, pleaded guilty to one charge each for failing to wear a mask over her nose and mouth while she was outside her residence, and for public nuisance.

Five other charges were taken into consideration by District Judge Ronald Gwee during sentencing.  Three of these were for breaching Covid-19 regulations. The other two were for failing to report her change of home address and for refusing to sign her statement at a police station.

The judge backdated Kaur’s jail term to May 5 last year, when she was remanded in the Institute of Mental Health for two weeks.

Kaur made headlines in May last year after she was caught on video not wearing a mask and engaging in a heated argument with passers-by at Shunfu Mart near Upper Thomson Road.

In the video clip, which went viral, she claimed that she was "sovereign".

"It means I have nothing to do with the police, it means I have no contract with the police. They have no say over me," she is heard saying.

A man, who is off-screen, responds: "This doesn't even make any sense. If you're a person in Singapore, you have to follow the rules of Singapore."

But the woman replies: "That's the thing - I'm not a person, I'm 'we the people'."

Kaur was arrested on May 4 last year, and was charged the next day.

In May last year, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said in a Facebook post that he had "checked up" what Kaur might have meant by claiming to be "sovereign".

He said: "There is a movement in the United States, and adherents to that movement, (broadly speaking) reject government, reject the police and any kind of authority... Such people should not live within society - she should not expect any of the benefits that come from this system of governance, including her security, medical care, other benefits."

In the past few days, several have shared a video of a lady, refusing to obey instructions from officers, not wearing a...

Posted by K Shanmugam Sc on Monday, May 4, 2020

For failing to wear a mask over the nose and mouth, a first-time offender can be jailed for up to six months, or fined up to $10,000, or both.

Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to a year, or fined up to $20,000, or both.

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.