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Author: Tan KW   |   Latest post: Mon, 6 Apr 2020, 8:47 AM


Coronavirus: elderly Hongkonger intercepted on bus latest to flout quarantine rules, two others will be first to face prosecution

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An 81-year-old man ordered to stay at home after returning to the city from mainland China became the latest Hongkonger to flee quarantine on Tuesday, only to be intercepted hours later on a double-decker bus headed towards Shenzhen.
The border run followed health authorities revealing the night before that four other Hongkongers under home quarantine had been intercepted in separate cases while attempting to leave the city for the mainland or Macau. Two of the four were issued summonses, the first such prosecutions since new compulsory quarantine measures kicked in on February 8.
The elderly resident in the latest case left his home in Lam Tin at about 7am, then switched to a KMB vehicle at about 10am, according to a police source. He was attempting to reach the Shenzhen Bay control point and return to the mainland.
“The bus driver was alerted by a passenger who realised the man was fleeing quarantine after overhearing him speaking to his son over the phone,” the source said.
The driver then drove the bus back to the terminal at Ching Ho Estate in Sheung Shui and called police.
In response to the call, two officers wearing protective gear were among a team sent to the scene.
“The elderly man told our officers that he wanted to go to Shenzhen, where he usually stays,” the source said.
The man had been brought back to Hong Kong by his son last week as fears mounted amid the coronavirus outbreak. As a resident, he was then ordered to self-quarantine at home under the new government policy for cross-border travellers.
The man, who is understood to suffer from mild dementia, was guarded by the two officers in protective gear until Department of Health officials arrived. Workers were later sent to sanitise the area at the bus terminal.
The four cases announced Monday evening, meanwhile, were immediately sent to a quarantine facility and investigated by police, according to the Department of Health.
Among them, two men, aged 41 and 37, were served summonses. The pair were stopped at border checkpoints at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and Shenzhen Bay.
The two other individuals remained under investigation and also face potential prosecution.
Just last Friday, eight Hong Kong residents were found to have flouted home quarantine provisions to visit a hospital in Wan Chai.
According to the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation, all travellers outside previously exempted categories are subject to a mandatory quarantine of 14 days if they have been to the mainland in the two weeks prior to arriving in Hong Kong.
Contravening the quarantine requirement is a crime, and offenders face a maximum fine of HK$25,000 (US$3,200) and imprisonment of up to six months.
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