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Indian-origin man gets jail for 7 months on abusing police in Singapore

Subramaniam had committed the offences over two days last month

Singapore, May 6 (UITV/IANS) An Indian-origin man was sentenced to seven months in prison here on Wednesday for verbally abusing police and safe-distancing enforcement officers who were urging compliance with COVID-19 measures.

Ravi Sinathamby Subramaniam, 53, had pleaded guilty to two charges of verbally abusing police and health officers and a third charge of threatening to "break" the faces of three health officers, channel news asia reported.

Another five charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Subramaniam had committed the offences over two days last month - first going to convenience store Hao Mart at Block 64, Whampoa Drive on April 14.

He was standing in the queue, holding an open can of beer and reeking of alcohol and complaining loudly about why the queue was not properly organised.

When the police spoke to him, he turned aggressive and spoke loudly to them, trying to leave and refusing to cooperate, drawing a crowd.

He hurled multiple vulgarities at the police and was arrested but reoffended four days later at a coffee shop at Block 81, Whampoa Drive.

When approached by a health officer enforcing safe-distancing measures as he was wearing his face mask over his chin and not over his nose and mouth, Subramaniam turned aggressive.

He cursed at the officer and a second colleague who joined her, saying: "You don't let me see you again if not I will break your face."

He later told the two officers and a third colleague: "The next time I see you, I will break your face."

The prosecution had pushed for at least 10 months' jail, saying that the case "presents an important opportunity for this court to send a clear message that such conduct" against frontline officers in the coronavirus fight will not be tolerated.

The judge had asked for further arguments on two similar cases as comparisons against Subramaniam's case, and Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh said that Subramaniam had committed more serious previous offences, including most recently threatening his brother with boiling water and a chopper.

"The intimidation in the present case has to be viewed against the backdrop of the profile of the victims, the number of victims, the number of times he threatened them, the reoffending of the accused within four days and serious antecedents, many of which are violence-related," said Mr Koh.

He said Subramaniam has accumulated a long list of offences spanning decades.

"Despite being imprisoned repeatedly, he doesn't seem to be able to remain crime-free for long," said Mr Koh, adding that Subramaniam has even been caned before but "continues to be a menace to society".

His crime records now show a trend of intimidating behaviour towards public servants, he said.

Subramaniam, who was unrepresented, said: "I apologise to the court. I apologise to the civil servant and I apologise to the government for what I have done without my knowledge because I am drunk."

The judge said he noticed that the threats in the two cases used for comparison with Subramaniam's were "more serious", and gave Subramaniam a jail term three months lower than what the prosecution had pushed for.

He also directed a session for Subramaniam to be given counselling for his underlying behaviour and for treatment plans to be formulated.