Man charged with forging Covid vaccination document to dine out

A man was so intent on dining at a restaurant amid the Covid-19 pandemic that he allegedly forged a doctor's memorandum purportedly showing that he was fully vaccinated against the virus.

Chinese national Zhang Shaopeng, 30, who appeared in a district court yesterday via video link from the Central Police Division, was charged with one count of forgery. Court documents did not reveal his actual vaccination status.

This is believed to be the first reported case of a person being charged in court over forging a vaccination document in an attempt to dine at a restaurant.

Earlier this month, Zhang is said to have forged the doctor's memorandum, which was dated Aug 26. He is accused of amending the document by adding his name to it so that others would assume he was fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, the police said Zhang allegedly produced a digital copy of the forged memorandum at an Orchard Road restaurant as he wanted to dine there on Sept 1. They did not disclose details about the eatery.

The police added: "The staff of the establishment made a check on the memorandum and suspected that it could have been forged."

The staff requested that the man leave, and he complied. They then reported the matter to the police.

After investigations, officers from Tanglin Police Division managed to establish Zhang's identity. They arrested him on Tuesday.

Since Aug 10, groups of up to five people who are fully vaccinated, or have recovered from or tested negative for Covid-19, have been allowed to dine together in restaurants. Unvaccinated children aged 12 and below may be included in the group as long as they are from the same household.

Only two people can eat together at hawker centres and coffee shops, but this is regardless of vaccination status.

Zhang, who was unrepresented in court, was offered bail of $5,000 yesterday. For forgery, an offender can be jailed for up to four years and fined. - THE STRAITS TIMES