Yeargan, 44, is a FedEx pilot based in Alaska. On April 3, according to his attorney, Ronnie Tan, Yeargan and his two co-pilots landed in the Asian city-state. From the airport, they were taken to a hotel, where they were to stay in quarantine for 14 days, due to having recently traveled to the United States, China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, in the two-week period prior to their arrival.
Two days later, officials went to his hotel room to check on him, and found that he wasn’t there. He later confessed to having taken the city’s public transit to go downtown to purchase medical supplies. Specifically, he had been scheduled to return to the United States on April 6, and he wanted to get masks, thermometers, and other goods to take home, where they’re in short supply. He also mentioned that his wife had been having breathing difficulties, although she had tested negative for the coronavirus in March.
According to Straits Times, Yeargan arrived at a downtown station where there were an estimated 1,000 people present. He then walked for 30 minutes to another location, visiting four shops in the process. He then received a call from his employer, who told him that he was not to be out of his hotel room and ordered him to back immediately. He complied, taking a cab back to the facility.
Prosecutors note that Yeargan could have obtained the supplies he wanted without violating quarantine orders.
“These items could have been sourced either after this [stay order] had expired or at the airport, closer to the hotel, or through other means including seeking the assistance of a local FedEx representative,” the prosecution argued, asking a court to sentence him to 8 weeks in jail.
Instead, the court sentenced him to 4 weeks.
“In his address in court, Yeargan said he was sorry, he made a poor judgment and that he shouldn’t have gone out… [My client] has the highest regard for the Singapore people and its laws,” Tan said.
Yeargan will be allowed to apply for an early release on good behavior after 3 weeks.
The Anchorage Daily News notes that by and large, Singaporean convicts are housed in a single, overcrowded facility in which 23,000 inmates rarely see sunlight. However, the Alaska newspaper also notes that it’s not clear if Yeargan has been sent to that specific facility.