Singapore to Deport British Expat Who Refused to Wear Mask

Benjamin Glynn caused a stir in the city state for refusing to wear a mask and declaring himself a “sovereign.”
August 19, 2021, 9:26am
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The anti-mask expat was caught in a viral vide. Photo:Kyle Austin on Unsplash

A British expat caught in a viral video refusing to mask up on public transport in Singapore will be deported from the country, according to local reports, ending a brief but chaotic trial that saw the 40-year-old declare himself a “sovereign.”

Benjamin Glynn rose to national infamy for his refusal to wear a mask on the train in May as well as a slew of bizarre court appearances where he said that, as a foreigner, he didn’t have to follow rules in Singapore. He was also initially represented by a man who identified himself as an “ambassador-at-large and advocate of Kingdom Filipina Hacienda,” but whom prosecutors noted did not have a license to practice law in Singapore.

Glynn was remanded in prison from July 19 to August 4 before being sent to the Institute of Mental Health on August 5. After having his psychiatric state assessed, Glynn was found fit to stand trial, and on Wednesday was sentenced to six weeks’ jail for several offences. They included flouting mask-wearing regulations and threatening public servants.

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He was handed over to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for deportation, according to a statement shared with local media. Officials from the ICA as well as the Singapore Prison Service did not immediately respond to enquiries from VICE World News.

Singapore’s COVID-19 laws make face masks mandatory in public for all individuals above the age of six. Exceptions can be made for cases such as strenuous exercise and eating, but masks remain compulsory on public transport. 

The city-state is well-known for its strict enforcement of pandemic control measures, and foreigners have gotten into trouble before for violating them. Last July, 12 foreign nationals were deported for breaking safe distancing rules. Over a dozen others were fined and permanently banned from working in Singapore for illegal gatherings at bars and a yacht party. 

Singapore boasts one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and has been lauded for its effective management of COVID-19. So far, it has registered only 46 deaths and around 1,000 active cases as of Wednesday.

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