British father booted out of Singapore for not wearing a mask

British father who was booted out of Singapore for not wearing a mask reveals he was dragged out of his home and beaten by police then thrown into a mental institution but says: ‘I’d do it again’

  • Benjamin Glynn, 40, was convicted on August 18 for not wearing a mask
  • The father of two was allegedly dragged out of his home and beaten by police 
  • He said he was hit with batons and subsequently held in a concrete cell for days 
  • Glynn was also forced to spend two weeks in a mental institution  
  • He was deported after his conviction and was hauled to the airport in shackles 

A British ex-pat jailed in Singapore for refusing to wear a face mask says he was beaten by police, dragged out of his home and forced to spend weeks in a mental institution before being deported.  

Benjamin Glynn, 40, a father of two originally from Helmsley, Yorkshire – was found guilty on four charges over his failure to wear a mask on a train in May and at a subsequent court appearance in July.

He was convicted on Wednesday 18 August and sentenced to six weeks in jail for the offence, but was instead deported because he had already spent weeks in custody.

‘I’ve been treated in my opinion like some sort of terrorist and as a criminal,’ said Glynn, but declared ‘I would do it all again, I don’t regret anything,’ despite his harrowing treatment at the hands of Singaporean authorities. 

Benjamin Glynn, 40,  a father of two from Yorkshire was sentenced to six weeks’ jail in Singapore for not wearing a mask and harassing police


Glynn was arrested and dragged out of his home by police in Singapore after a member of the public filmed him travelling without a mask on the metro

Glynn had initially planned to leave Singapore with his family on May 31, but on his final day of work had gone for drinks with colleagues and opted to get the train home.

A passenger on the train snapped a clip of Glynn on public transport without a mask and uploaded it to Stomp, a citizen journalism website.   

Just one day later, Glynn opened the door to find several police officers insisting he come down to the station immediately.  

‘I objected to that as it was so late – it was my daughter’s fifth birthday,’ Glynn said, at which point the officers drew their batons and beat Glynn into submission. 

He was hauled out of his house in front of his family and into an ambulance, before being thrown into a concrete holding cell with no bed and bright lights, where he was forced to spend the weekend.

Though he was released on bail after experiencing hallucinations from sleep deprivation, Glynn was subjected to the same horrendous treatment yet again in July, except this time, he ended up in Changi prison where he said he was ‘tortured physically and psychologically’.

‘On July 19, five of them [police] came bursting into my room. I hid in the bathroom and recorded it on my phone. They gave me no choice and dragged me out,’ said Glynn.  

At his court hearing, Glynn asked the judge to name which law states the public must wear masks. He alleges this angered the judge, who decreed Glynn must be sent to Singapore’s Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric assessment where he was held for two weeks.  

‘It was a horrible cell with a small grille, no windows, and I wasn’t allowed anything – no toilet paper, books or toothbrush,’ Glynn said. 

‘I just had two weeks of staring at a wall in the isolation ward, where the really poorly people with mental problems are.

‘This is how they deal with people who challenge their legal system and government, but it’s not just in Singapore – I’m sure people in other countries have also been accused of having mental problems if they refuse to comply with the Covid regulations.’ 

The father of two from Yorkshire was ultimately found guilty on all charges at a court hearing on August 18 and sentenced to six weeks in prison, but had spent so long in custody already that he was instead hauled to the airport in shackles and promptly deported.

Glynn believes masks are pointless and do not protect people from contracting Covid-19, so didn’t wear one while taking the train home from work

Glynn had initially planned to leave Singapore with his family on May 31, but remained in the country until August due to numerous court hearings, jail time and a stint in a mental institution at the command of a Singaporean judge 

Singapore is well-known for its enforcement of strict rules and has jailed and fined others for breaking COVID-19 regulations. Some foreigners have had their work permits revoked for rule breaches.

The city-state has kept its coronavirus outbreaks under control, in part due to its strict enforcement or measures.

In February, a Singapore court sentenced a British man to two weeks in jail after he broke strict Covid protocols by sneaking out of his hotel room to meet his then fiancée while in quarantine.

But Glynn labelled the authorities’ treatment of people as a ‘nightmare’.

‘It turns out they have absolutely zero recognition for the living man or living woman.’

He is now out of work because he was due to transfer to a position back in the UK, which has now been revoked following his troubles with the Singaporean authorities.

‘It’s a horrible situation to be in,’ said Glynn, who despite the ordeal stands by his belief that masks are ineffective in stopping the transmission of Covid.

‘I don’t even believe masks stop the spread of the virus in the first place. I honestly believe it’s a hoax – I don’t feel there is any evidence to show mask-wearing is effective in any way.’

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