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Quarantine violation: Indian businessman lands in Hong Kong jail

Deepak Kumar, 31, was sentenced to four weeks behind bars on Monday after he pleaded guilty to one count of leaving the place of quarantine without the permission given by an authorised officer.

Published: 20th April 2020 02:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2020 02:57 PM   |  A+A-

People wearing masks, walk across a street in Hong Kong, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. The COVID-19 viral illness has sickened thousands of people throughout China and other countries since December.

People wearing masks walk across a street in Hong Kong (Photo | AP)

By PTI

BEIJING: An Indian businessman was jailed in Hong Kong on Monday for violating the quarantine order for the containment of the coronavirus and trying to leave the city, the first such breach by a non-resident, according to a media report.

Deepak Kumar, 31, was sentenced to four weeks behind bars on Monday after he pleaded guilty to one count of leaving the place of quarantine without the permission given by an authorised officer, South China Morning Post reported.

Kwun Tong Court heard the Indian businessman arrived in Hong Kong from Turkey on March 21, and was placed under a written quarantine order to stay in isolation at Mojo Nomad Aberdeen Harbour Hotel in Aberdeen, for 14 days, the paper said.

But immigration officers found him trying to leave Hong Kong via Shenzhen Bay Control Point without permission the following morning and intercepted him, it said.

He was subsequently sent to a quarantine centre and brought to court on April 4 after the isolation period had ended.

He is the first non-resident to be jailed for leaving their quarantine site, the newspaper said.

His defence lawyer said the offence was committed out of misunderstanding, as he claimed to have received "general information on how to go to China from the Home Affairs Department" and mistook it as permission to leave Hong Kong.

"He pleaded guilty to indicate his remorse," the lawyer said in mitigation.

"He's sorry for the trouble he made."

 Acting principal magistrate Ivy Chui Yee-mei first sentenced him to six weeks, and reduced it by one-third to credit Kumar's guilty plea and clear record, the paper said.

The case was the first breach of the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation, which since March 19 has required all arrivals from outside China to undergo 14 days of compulsory quarantine.

Offenders face six months in prison and a maximum fine of 25,000 Hong Kong dollars.

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