Indian man gets three months for misleading officials in Covid investigation

Local | 5 Jul 2021 12:14 pm

An Indian man who the authorities linked to a small outbreak of a mutant strain of coronavirus in Hong Kong was sentenced to three months in jail after pleading guilty to several counts of knowingly giving false information to officials.

Syed Mohamed Rizvi, 30, who arrived from Dubai in March, was found to be infected after he had completed quarantine and went out into the city.

Kowloon City Court heard that he and his Filipina friend, Victoria Marie Alcaide Guadiz – who also admitted to the same charge – hid the fact that they attended a family gathering at Hing Wah (II) Estate on April 13, leading to the spread of the virus to four family members and five others.

Prosecutors also noted that over a thousand people were quarantined or evacuated from their residences due to the scare, with all domestic helpers in the city later required to undergo mandatory testing.

Principal magistrate Ada Yim Shun-yee said it is crucial for citizens to obey the law and Covid rules to help contain the epidemic.

The actions of the two have undermined citizen’s well-being, risking public health, said the magistrate. She also added that a custodial sentence will be needed given the seriousness of the case.

While the man was handed a three-month jail term, the Woman has been released immediately after being given a 20-day jail term, as she had been remanded for over 20 days.

In mitigation, the defence said the man hid his whereabouts because he didn't want his family to be questioned by health officials. He also regretted his behavior.

As for his friend, the defence said she understands the huge impact the incident caused to society and expressed regret over her action.

They both apologized to the public and hoped the court would hand down a non-custodial sentence.

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