Coronavirus: Singapore bans Britons for lockdown 'bar crawl'

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Daily Life In Singapore Amid The Coronavirus PandemicImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The streets of Singapore were empty as the country entered its circuit breaker period

A group of British men living in Singapore have been banned from working there again after breaking lockdown to go on a "bar crawl".

The men were also fined around S$9,000 each ($6,500; £5,200).

They were charged after a picture of people drinking during the country's "lockdown" - which banned social gatherings - went viral last month.

A separate group, an American couple and an Austrian, were also punished for drinking on the same day.

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MoM) said between 1 May and 25 June, 140 people had their permission to work in Singapore revoked for breaking Covid-19 measures.

How did the 'crawl' start?

The court heard the men met by chance on Saturday 16 May in Robertson Quay, a popular bar and restaurant area in the city centre.

The group - Neil Gordon Buchan, 30, Perry Scott Blair, 37, James Titus Beatt, 33, and Joseph William Poynter, 35 - went to three bars in around 45 minutes, local media reported.

Although the bars were not open as normal, they were allowed to serve takeaway alcohol.

On the same day, a Facebook post went viral showing pictures taken by a passer-by of people drinking in groups that evening.

The post asked why locals in state-run housing were being punished for breaking lockdown rules, while others could seemingly "drink openly with no masks on".

The prosecution asked the judge to jail the men for a week, but he instead imposed a fine.

The court heard they had no previous convictions in Singapore, and that their lawyer objected to the "bar crawl" description.

What about the second group?

An American married couple - Bao Nguyen Brown, 40, and Jeffrey George Brown, 52 - went to the Quay to buy Indian food, but stopped to buy takeaway beer.

They bumped into an Austrian man, Michael Czerny, 45, and offered him a beer.

The court heard they drank and chatted for half an hour. They were fined S$8,000 each.

MoM said six of the seven people fined for drinking at Robertson Quay had been permanently banned from working in Singapore.

They did not specify who was exempt, but the court heard that Czerny has Permanent Resident status, and therefore does not rely on a work pass.

Two other British men have been charged for drinking in Robertson Quay on the same day, but their cases are pending.

How strict has Singapore been?

Singapore went into a Covid-19 "circuit-breaker" - a lockdown of sorts - on 7 April.

It ran until 1 June, although many measures - including the closure of dine-in bars and restaurants - continued until 19 June.

During the circuit breaker period, all social gatherings of any size - both in private and public spaces - were banned.

Media caption,

Anthony Houlahan has been raising money for charity by delivering food on his bike

Of those, 98 were for breaching the circuit-breaker and were also permanently banned from working in Singapore.

"These individuals were found eating, drinking and gathering in groups in public during the circuit breaker," the MoM said.

"These took place at various locations such as dormitories, private residential areas, East Coast Park and Robertson Quay."