"He hurled vulgarities and racial slurs at her."
An Indian-origin woman in Singapore was kicked and racially abused for not wearing a mask while she was brisk walking.
The victim was attacked by a 30-year-old man on May 7, 2021.
Private tutor Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai, who is an Indian Singaporean, was brisk walking when a man approached her and asked her to pull her mask up from her chin.
The 55-year-old was walking along Choa Chu Kang Drive when the man approached her near a bus stop outside Northvale condominium.
Her daughter, Parveen Kaur, said:
“She explained that she was brisk walking but he didn’t care. He hurled vulgarities and racial slurs at her.
“My mum responded with a ‘God bless you’ and the guy kicked her in the chest. My mum landed on her back and hurt herself.”
The man ran away while the woman was left shaken and bleeding.
According to Singapore’s health ministry guidelines, people are required to wear masks in public. They can be removed when exercising, including brisk walking.
Parveen explained that her mother brisk walks to work as a form of daily exercise, but the incident has left her “afraid of taking a walk in her own country”.
A police report was filed.
In a statement, police said: “The police take a serious view of such acts that have the potential to damage racial harmony in Singapore.
“Any person who makes remarks or takes action that can cause ill-will and hostility between the different races will be dealt with swiftly and in accordance with the law.”
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong condemned the racist attack on the woman.
In a Facebook post on May 10, 2021, the PM said that while people may be anxious because of the Covid-19 pandemic “that does not justify racist attitudes and actions, much less physically abusing and assaulting someone because she belongs to a particular race, in this case, Indian”.
On May 11, 2021, police arrested a man for public nuisance, uttering words with intent to wound the racial feelings of others and voluntarily causing hurt.
“I feel so much safer now that a suspect has been identified.”
“The police were very efficient and have done a commendable job addressing this incident.”
The offence of public nuisance carries a jail term of up to three months, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
The offence of uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of any person carries a jail term of up to three years, a fine, or both.
The offence of voluntary causing hurt carries a jail term of up to three years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.