Coronavirus rumours: Police open five investigation papers

PETALING JAYA: Police have begun investigations into five cases of alleged dissemination of fake or unverified news on the novel coronavirus epidemic on social media.

In a statement to the press yesterday, National CID director Datuk Huzir Mohamed said the first case involved a leaked police report on the coronavirus that has been posted on Facebook by Kong Tuck Wah.

In the second case several statements, including one with a claim that 1,000 people from China had entered Penang, had been uploaded on Facebook by a user named “Ibu Yati”.

The same user also asked if a state of emergency would be declared if former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng was infected. Lim is now Finance Minister.

The third investigation focuses on Facebook user “Roti Sardeen” who claims that a Chinese tourist had died inside a bus at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex at klia2.

Police have also opened investigations on a Facebook post claiming that patients infected with the coronavirus were being treated at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital in Terengganu.

The claim was found on a Facebook page allegedly own by a group called Gabungan Anak Terengganu (Original)”.

The fifth case involves a claim, on WhatsApp, that a prisoner in Malaysia had died of the disease.

“The first four cases are being investigated under Section 203(A) of the Penal Code for disclosure of information, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for sharing ‘offensive and menacing’ content,” Huzir said.

In the fifth case, the investigations are conducted under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code for publishing or circulating claims that can cause public alarm, apart from the Communications and Multimedia Act.

Anyone convicted under Section 203(A) of the Penal Code is liable to a fine of up to RM1 million or a jail term of up to a year, or both.

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