CHOPE! I CHOPE! This seat is mine!

CHOPE! I CHOPE! This seat is mine!

Every once in a while, people would stumble upon an event some sort and unify in a bid of righteousness. In the recent weeks, it was the footage of act of violence against an elderly Chinese passenger by airport authorities on board the United Airlines flight. This week, it is the video of how a couple treated an old man at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh Hawker centre in Singapore.


Although short, the entire 1:06 minutes of the video is enough to draw out anger and outrage from viewers. The footage circulated fast, soon becoming viral and even being shared overseas. Many started asking questions, and thus the online vigilantes went to work in order to find out the identities of the people involved, with huge interest and scrutiny at possible suspects of the couple.


On April 22nd, 2017, Facebook User Manny Quest uploaded a footage of a heated dispute between a young couple and an elderly man that occurred a day before. The video begins with the lady arguing with the old man on the issue of the “reserved” seats or as we Singaporeans affectionately call “choped” seats. At around the 22-second mark of the footage, a man, presumably her boyfriend, bumped against the elderly man, causing the old person to stumble forward. It could have been a hard fall, but fortunately, the old man steadied himself by grabbing hold of the hawker table.


On 25th April 2017, the police arrested the couple involved in the incident for causing public nuisance.

Legal Questions raised

Some of us out there may have questions regarding this matter. It is also worth nothing that there are many legal questions and issues and they, and not limited to, as follows:

–    Why has the couple been arrested for public nuisance?

–    What constitutes to the charge of public nuisance?

–    What are the punishments that can be enacted on a person if convicted for the charge of public nuisance?

The Charge of Public Nuisance

Under Chapter 184, Section 14(1) of the Penal Code, “Any person who makes any noise by any instrument or other means in such a manner as to cause or be likely to cause annoyance or inconvenience to the occupier of any premises in the vicinity or to any person lawfully using any public road or in any public place shall be guilty of an offence…”

Under Section 290 of the Penal Code, anyone charged with the offence of Public nuisance may be punished with a fine, which may extend to $1,000.00.

Arrestable vs Non-Arrestable Offences

The police have arrested the couple allegedly involved in the dispute for causing public nuisance. Some people would be wondering, “Why are they arrested for causing public nuisance? Why not arrested them under some law relating to violence?”


With regards to the police procedure’s relating to arrests in Singapore, the police would assess the situation and determine whether the issue involved a crime categorised as an arrestable offence under the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code. Voluntarily causing hurt is a non-arrestable offence, this means that the police cannot make any arrests without a warrant. On the other hand, causing public nuisance is an arrestable offence.

How we can help you.

If you find yourself in such a situation, our team of experienced Criminal Litigation Lawyers will be able to advise you on your matter. Such matters are filled with details and issues that require someone with a special set of skill to review and to advice you on the matter. At I.R.B. Law LLP our Singaporean Lawyers will be able to guide you and explain to you each and every stage of the proceedings and guide you patiently through the process. So do not hesitate and contact us at 6298 2537 or send us an email at

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