UPDATE: The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a media release on Tuesday (11 January) that it will make arrangements to deport the Chinese couple, and bar them from re-entering Singapore after they have served their sentences.
SINGAPORE — A Chinese couple jailed for withholding information from COVID-19 contact tracers have decided to withdraw their appeals, after a protracted case lasting nearly two years.
Hu Jun, 40, and Shi Sha, 38, have been unable to return to China despite their earlier attempts to do so.
The couple appeared in court on Tuesday (11 January) for a post-sentence hearing which reporters were not allowed to attend. Hu and Shi then discontinued their appeals against their conviction and sentence. They applied to have Shi serve her jail term after Hu completes his, so that they can care for their children and elderly family members.
When contacted, the couple's lawyer Steven Lam told Yahoo News Singapore that the couple decided to withdraw their appeal as the process had taken too long and they wanted to return to China as soon as possible. One of their fathers was not feeling well and they wanted to see him.
Lam said that he was instructed last week about the decision.
Hu is set to serve his five-month jail sentence on 17 January, while Shi’s six-month sentence is fixed to commence on 17 May this year.
The couple from Wuhan was sentenced on 24 November last year. They were the first to be charged under the Infectious Diseases Act (IDA) in 2020 when they were found to have lied about their whereabouts between 22 and 29 January. They were asked to recount their whereabouts after Hu tested positive for COVID-19 on 31 January 2020.
Hu had claimed trial to one charge of hindering a public health officer by deliberately withholding information about his alleged visits to six locations between 22 and 29 January. Shi contested a charge for lying to another public health officer, and three charges for hindering an officer by either providing false information or withholding information when asked by health officials.
Both had been found guilty after trial on 26 October last year.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a media release on Tuesday that it will make arrangements to deport Hu and Shi, and bar them from re-entering Singapore after they have served their sentences.
ICA added that Hu was in Singapore as a short-term visitor, while Shi was a long-term visit pass holder. Their immigration passes were subsequently cancelled, and both were issued with special passes to facilitate their court proceedings.
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