COVID-19: False case of safe-distancing fine at a roadblock
In April 2020, the Singapore government implemented stricter social distancing measures in light of the worsening COVID-19 situation. At the start, enforcement officers would only give out written advisories to first-time offenders. As of 12 April 2020, individuals who are caught flouting the measures will be issued a $300 fine instead of a warning. The Straits Times reported that 200 fines have been issued on 14 April 2020. In tandem with these implementations, false claims of safe-distancing fines have surfaced on social media.
Origins of the rumours
In early April 2020, a message containing the following two rumours had been circulated on Whatsapp. The individual behind the message alleged that their close relations have been fined for allegedly flouting the social-distancing measures. These rumours were also seen on Facebook groups. This entry covers the second rumoured case.
The first claim alleged that a family - consisting of the father and his two daughters - were fined for cycling together outdoors.
Rumour 2: A pair of friends fined at a roadblock
The second claim alleged that a pair of friends who were in the same vehicle had been fined after a check at a police roadblock revealed that they lived in separate locations.
Rumour 2: Debunked by the Singapore Police Force (SPF)
"... they checked both their ICs which apparently didn't match within the same household."
The alleged pair of friends was supposedly stopped at a police roadblock and fined because their Identification Cards showed different residential addresses. It was implied that the police were enforcing safe-distancing measures at roadblocks. Some renditions of the message had an attached image of the ticket, while others had an attached screenshot showing the locations of police roadblocks.
The SPF debunked the rumour on their Facebook page on 13 April 2020. In their post, they clarified that no member of the public has been fined for flouting social distancing measures at a roadblock. SPF noted that they have not conducted roadblocks since the elevated safe distancing measures were put in place. They added that roadblocks are meant to identify possible cases of drink-driving and to catch wanted criminals - not to enforce safe-distancing measures.
References / Citations
- Lai, Linette and Yuen Sin. “More stringent measures imposed as new coronavirus cases reach high of 287”. The Straits Times. April 10, 2020. Accessed on 14 April 2020.
- Lee, Jeremy. “7,000 Safe Distancing Warnings Issued On 1st Day Of ‘Circuit Breaker’, 1st-Time Offenders May Get Jail & Fine”. MustShare News. April 8, 2020. Accessed on 14 April 2020.
- Goh, Yan Han and Wong, Lester. “Coronavirus: $300 fine for flouting circuit breaker measures”. The Straits Times. April 12, 2020. Accessed on 14 April 2020.
- Ng, Michelle. "Coronavirus: 200 fines issued on April 14 to safe distancing offenders". The Straits Times. April 14, 2020. Accessed on 15 April 2020.
- FactChecker.sg. “Everyone has been coming up with their various…”. Facebook. April 13, 2020. Accessed on 14 April 2020.
- “[COVIDWatch]: Were two individuals stopped at a road block and warned of a $10,000 fine?”. Black Dot Research. April 13, 2020. Accessed on 14 April 2020.
- “[COVIDWatch]: Are road blocks being set up to check on why people are on the road?”. Black Dot Research. April 10, 2020. Accessed on 14 April 2020.
- Singapore Police Force. “[POLICE DO NOT CONDUCT ROAD BLOCKS TO ENFORCE ELEVATED…”. Facebook. April 13, 2020. Accessed on 14 April 2020.
- “Clarifications on misinformation regarding the Coronavirus disease 2019”. Factually. April 13, 2019. Accessed on 14 April 2020.
- “Coronavirus: No police road blocks to enforce elevated safe distancing measures”. The Straits Times. April 13, 2020. Accessed on 14 April 2020.