The Singapore government has banned a Clarksons broker from ever working again in the city state after he broke the local lockdown rules implemented to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revoked the employment pass of Neil Gordon Buchan, a 30-year-old subsea and renewables broker with the offshore and marine intelligence and consultancy service and who has been working in Singapore for almost eight years.
Local media reported on Friday that Buchan is one of four Britons that met by chance on 16 May in Robertson Quay, a popular bar and restaurant area.
The group visited three bars in the space of around 45 minutes.
Although the bars were not open as normal because of restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the establishments were allowed to serve takeaway alcohol.
The same day, a Facebook post went viral showing pictures taken by a passer-by of people drinking in groups.
The four Britons, including Buchan, were charged with violating legislation that banned all social gatherings of any size — both in private and public spaces — to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
'Circuit breaker' rules
Each of them has had their work passes revoked, has been banned from ever working in Singapore again and was fined S$9000 (US$6500) on the same charge of breaking so-called 'circuit breaker' rules.
"All work pass holders in Singapore must abide by the law. MOM will continue to take enforcement actions against work pass holders who do not comply with the requirements, including the revocation of work passes. This is regardless of the work pass holder’s nationality and pass type," the ministry said in a statement.
Two other British men were charged for drinking in Robertson Quay on the same day and their cases are pending.
Enforcement actions to continue
Buchan is one of 140 people who have had their work passes revoked between 1 May and 25 June, MOM said. These people are all reported to have breached Singapore’s strict circuit breaker measures, stay-home notices or quarantine orders.
“The ministry will continue to take enforcement actions against work pass holders who do not comply with the requirements, including the revocation of work passes,” said the MOM, adding that employers and work pass holders have a “joint responsibility” to ensure workers abide by safe distancing measures.
“As Singapore gradually eases into phase two of reopening, strict compliance is crucial to continue to safeguard the health and safety of individuals and the community at large."
Those who have had their work passes revoked can be required to leave Singapore, sometimes within a few weeks, although it is unclear what measures will apply given the logistical challenges and lack of current flights because of the pandemic.
Clarksons declined to comment on the issue.