Coronavirus rumours: Police open five investigation papers

Coronavirus rumours: Police open five investigation papers

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have opened five investigation papers on the spread of rumours and false news relating to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on social media.

Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Huzir Mohamed said initial investigations carried out from Jan 24 found that the rumours and false news were circulated through four Facebook accounts and one WhatsApp group.

He said three cases involving Facebook users by the name of ‘Ibu Yati’, ‘Roti Sardeen’, and ‘Gabungan Anak Terengganu (Original)’ and the WhatsApp group were being investigated under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code for publishing and circulating rumours likely to cause fear or alarm to the public, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for improper use of network facilities.

“The other case involving a Facebook user by the name of ‘Mr Kong Tuck Wah’ is related to the police report on the viral issue of coronavirus and the case is being investigated under Section 203A of the Penal Code for disclosure of information and also Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998,” he said in a statement here today.

He said among the rumours and false news circulated was on the sudden death of a prisoner in Sandakan, Sabah, allegedly after being infected by the 2019-nCoV.

Huzir said there were also false reports being circulated about several individuals suspected of the 2019-nCoV receiving treatment at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital, Kuala Terengganu.

“The spread of this false news can cause fear or alarm to the public and the government is taking all the necessary action to tackle the issue appropriately,” he said.

As such, he said members of the public are advised to stop spreading any types of unofficial or unverified news, articles or statements on the issue as legal action and punishment awaited those who tried to be a ‘hero’ by committing that offence on the Internet and social media.

Yesterday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador also called on the public to stop circulating false news on the threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus in the country, and instead to refer to the Ministry of Health for the latest development on the matter.

Bernama