Singapore police have arrested a 30-year-old Chinese man for allegedly assaulting an Indian-origin woman and subjecting her to racial slurs for not wearing a mask while she was brisk walking last week.
The man was arrested "for public nuisance, uttering words with intent to wound the racial feelings of others and voluntarily causing hurt," the Singapore Police Force (SPF) was quoted as saying by the Channel News Asia on Tuesday.
The woman was walking along a walkway at Choa Chu Kang Drive at about 8.45am on Friday when she was confronted by a Chinese couple who told her to wear her mask properly as a safety measure, police said.
"She purportedly got into a verbal exchange with the man. The man allegedly uttered an offensive racial remark and assaulted her, causing her to fall to the ground," the police said.
The couple then left the scene and the 55-year-old woman, identified as Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai, a private tutor, was assisted by a passerby.
Investigations into the incident are on, police said.
If found guilty of public nuisance, the man could be jailed for up to three months, fined up to SGD 2,000 (USD 1,509), or both.
For uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of any person, the punishment is an imprisonment term of up to three years, a fine, or both.
The offence for voluntarily causing hurt carries an imprisonment term of up to three years, a fine of up to SGD 5,000 (USD 3,773), or both.
"The police take a serious view of such acts that have the potential to damage racial harmony in Singapore," it said.
"Any person who makes remarks or takes action that can cause ill-will and hostility between the different races will be dealt with swiftly and in accordance with the law," the Channel quoted the police as saying.