News Culture

Man Charged With Running 50-Car Street Race During Coronavirus Lockdown

Like a scene straight out of Need for Speed: Underground.

Shelter-in-place orders have brought road traffic across the globe to its thinnest in decades, much to the delight of illegal street racers. The bad apples of the car scene are taking to the roads in huge numbers, many of which are being caught and prosecuted, and not just for treating the public roads like their playground. Some face even more severe penalties, such as one Singaporean street racing coordinator, whom authorities have accused of facilitating the spread of coronavirus.

According to The Straits Times, 30-year-old Yeo Jing Cheng of Singapore is accused of organizing a car meet and street race that brought dozens of people out of social isolation for a “street cars meet up,” an invitation to which can be seen below. Cheng reportedly brought an unspecified number of people greater than 10 together in the parking lot of a McDonald’s near Singapore’s southeast coastline on the evening of March 28, two days after Singapore codified additional laws to limit the spread of COVID-19, some of them prohibiting social gatherings of more than 10 people.

Invitation to the event, circulated online., SG Road Vigilante on YouTube

Some of those in attendance are believed to have accompanied Cheng to a followup event 90 minutes later at Tuas South Boulevard, which snakes through the shipyards at the southwestern corner of the city-state. These two events are believed to have involved 57 people and more than 50 cars. Footage of the event uploaded by Singaporean YouTuber “SG Road Vigilante” suggests this event was interrupted by Singaporean police, who can be seen surrounding participants at both ends of the street.

When authorities identified Cheng as a suspect is unclear, though Channel News Asia reports the Singaporean was confronted with criminal charges resulting from the meets on April 9. Rather than accuse Cheng of street racing, which carries a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment and a $2,000 fine, a judge reportedly slapped Cheng with two charges of violating the country’s new COVID-19 prevention laws, each of which carries the same maximum prison sentence, but steeper $10,000 fines.

Cheng is reportedly being held on a bail of $15,000 and will return to court on May 8 after seeking legal consultation. Police are also reportedly investigating attendees of Cheng’s meets for violating social distancing measures, which may have exposed dozens of people to the highly contagious COVID-19, of which there are 1,910 confirmed cases and six confirmed deaths in Singapore per the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

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