China couple accused of obstructing COVID-19 containment work 'not averse' to pleading guilty: Lawyer
SINGAPORE: A married couple from China, who are facing charges of obstructing COVID-19 containment work, are "not averse" to pleading guilty, their lawyer said on Friday (Apr 24).
Lawyer Chung Ting Fai appeared in court via video conference on behalf of his clients, China nationals Hu Jun and Shi Sha.
They are accused of obstructing contact tracing by giving false information after Hu, who is from Wuhan, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and both were instructed to be quarantined.
The lawyer from Chung Ting Fai & Co told the court on Friday that his clients were "not averse to taking a certain course" if they can get a non-custodial sentence. This means they are not averse to pleading guilty if they do not get jail.
Mr Chung told reporters that his clients will plead guilty if the prosecution asks only for a fine. The maximum fine for each offence is S$10,000. If the prosecution asks for jail, they will not plead guilty, he said.
Hu Jun, a 38-year-old China national from Wuhan, is accused of obstructing contact tracing by giving false information to a health officer about his whereabouts.
His wife, 36-year-old Shi Sha, was given three charges of obstructing health officials' work and another charge of failing to comply with isolation conditions.
Hu had arrived in Singapore on Jan 22 and was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 on Jan 31.
After he was diagnosed, his wife Shi was issued a quarantine order on Feb 1, but she allegedly did not comply and instead stayed at the couple's home at Loft @ Nathan.
She is also accused of lying about the exact unit she stayed in and about taking a taxi from the residence to Singapore General Hospital.
The prosecutor said he needed a final adjournment of two weeks.
The judge adjourned the case and reminded the defence to have his clients turn up in court so they can be offered bail.
If convicted of the charges, both husband and wife face penalties of up to six months' jail, a maximum S$10,000 fine or both per charge.