Three men faced charges in a district court for setting up camp and unlawfully paddling at Chek Jawa Wetlands Park during coronavirus pandemic on Monday, in Singapore. Mohamed Hafiz Mat Nadar, Rizani Sham Mohamed Hussin, and Zulman Mashonain faced two charges each under COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.
All three of them committed offenses of meeting one another at Pasir Ris Park Carpark E after leaving their home at around 6 pm on April 13. They were also accused of entering "no entry" Chek Jawa Wetlands Park zone in kayaks that evening.
The particular area has been barred for all watercraft and people since October 1, 2007, as per court documents. The entry can only be permitted with prior permission from the National Parks Board (NParks). Each one of them has been accused of setting up hammock and shelter without the approval from the commissioner of parks and recreation.
Expected to Plead Guilty on June 3
The trio allegedly lit a campfire and did camping unlawfully until the next day morning. Rizani and Zulman were also held responsible for using fishing rods without the permission though they were earlier informed fishing was not allowed by NParks officer. "We told him we are going to Pulau Ubin for the activities... He did not advise further. If he had done so, we would have canceled the activities," Rizani said at court on Monday. "We did not see any signs stating such activities are not allowed," he added.
All three men are expected to plead guilty to their charges on June 3, as per The Straits Times reported. According to the COVID-19 Temporary Measures, the first time offenders can be fined up to $10,000 or face imprisonment for up to six months.
Laws regarding National Parks
According to the Parks and Trees Regulations, no person is allowed to enter any national park or nature reserve thereof that is closed to the public without the approval of Commissioner. No person is allowed to cause any alteration, damage, or destruction to any property, tree, or plant that is within the park.
Individuals cannot cause injury or death of any animal or organism. No person shall camp, light, maintain or use a fire in any national or public park. For unlawfully entering the NParks zone, convicted offenders can be fined up to $2,000.