Singapore — Phoon Chiu Yoke, or the woman now also known as “Badge Lady”, had her application to be released from remand rejected once again on Thursday (Aug 12).
The 53-year-old currently faces 22 charges in total.
She appeared in court via video-link with a mask worn below her nose for most of the hearing.
Her new lawyer, Mr Amos Cai from Yuen Law told the court that Phoon’s family had engaged him earlier this week, and added that he had spoken to her for the first time just before the court hearing. Mr Cai noted that his client still intends to plead guilty and that he was appointed to handle the mitigation plea and sentencing submissions.
Through her lawyer, Phoon again asked to be released from remand, referring to her medical history.
Mr Cai said: “I understand she has a broken foot, a dislocated ankle, an injured knee that was recently aggravated, spinal injury and previous head concussions.”
He said that Phoon had instructed him that the Singapore Armed Forces — where she claimed she was an “ex-naval officer of professional standing” — would have access to these medical records.
She also claimed that she only realised the severity of her offences after her bail was increased from S$8,000 to S$12,000 on Jul 6 and had not reoffended since.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim objected, saying that Phoon had reoffended as recently as Jun 25 this year, shortly after she was released on bail.
District Judge Carol Ling rejected her application to be released from remand.
Phoon was infamously caught on camera refusing to wear a face mask, despite being asked to do so by safe distancing ambassadors.
She was spotted repeatedly asking for the safe distancing ambassadors’ badges as they advised her to wear a mask while queueing at Marina Bay Sands. “If you have no badge, why are you asking me to do something?” she was heard saying. “Who are you representing?” she asked.
According to a Straits Times report, Phoon allegedly failed to wear a mask over her nose and mouth “at all times” at Newton hawker centre between 7.20 pm and 8 pm on May 8 last year. She is also said to have not worn a mask in places such as MBS and Tiong Bahru Market in numerous instances between May 8 last year and May 24 this year.
She is also accused of breaching her SHN at MBS that she was required to serve between Jun 28 and Jul 12 last year on five occasions. Phoon allegedly left her room twice on Jul 8, and once each on Jun 28, Jul 5 and Jul 9.
She once again urged the prosecution to drop the new charges against her, saying that she suffered from eczema and sometimes breathlessness, which were reasons for her not to wear a mask.
Previously, in court on Jun 8, Phoon repeated four times that she was a naval officer with a “strong professional standing”, and asked for the charges against her to be dropped.
“I have a very strong professional standing, not only in Singapore, but globally… I served in the navy for 12 years and was the first female commanding officer,” she said.
If convicted under Covid-19 laws, Phoon could face a jail term of up to six months or a fine of up to S$10,000, or both, for each of the 22 charges. /TISG
Read related: Badge lady‘s request for bail denied, also asked for her passport to be returned to her because of her “stellar professional record”
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