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He Left His Room for 3 Hours. He Got 4 Weeks in Jail

Singapore jails US pilot for breaching quarantine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2020 7:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – An American FedEx pilot has become the first foreigner jailed for breaching Singapore's strict quarantine regulations. Alaska resident Brian Yeargan, 44, and two co-pilots were told to spend 14 days isolated in an airport hotel before entering the city after arriving from Australia on April 3. They had planned to fly out on April 6—but on April 5, Yeargan left his room and took a train downtown to go shopping for face masks and other equipment, the Straits Times reports. Health officials conducting a check discovered he was gone. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to four weeks in jail. Prosecutors said that during his 3-hour absence from the room, he alighted from an airport train in a busy station with around 1,000 people present before visiting four stores in a shopping mall.

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Defense lawyer Ronnie Tan says Yeargan had been quarantined because he had visited China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, and the US in the 14 days before he arrived in Singapore. Tan said Yeargan, who could have faced a 6-month sentence, wanted the face masks for his wife, who had been ill, the AP reports. Prosecutors said he could have asked FedEx or somebody else to obtain the items. Yeargan told the court "he made a poor judgment and that he shouldn't have gone out," Tan said. The pilot's father, Jim Yeargan, tells the Anchorage Daily News that his son is a former US Army Ranger. "That tends to make you tough," he says. "He’s taking care of himself." (Australia jailed a man for a "breathtakingly arrogant" quarantine breach.)

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