GEORGE TOWN, March 31 — A total of 183 people were charged separately in Penang today for breaching the movement control order (MCO) enforced nationwide to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Due to their numbers, it took three separate magistrates courts nearly the entire day to process all the accused aged between 15 and 66.
Over in George Town, 33 people aged between 19 and 62 years’ old were charged under Rule 3(1) Prevention of Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the infected local areas) Regulations 2020.
Of these, eight claimed trial while 26 pleaded guilty and were sentenced to a RM1,000 fine each and between one and two weeks’ imprisonment. Minors were let off with three months’ compulsory attendance orders.
Most were arrested on March 27 and 28 for gathering in public; two were arrested for jogging and cycling in public areas.
One, G. Rubenraj, 19, was also charged with obstructing a civil servant from discharging their duties as he allegedly pushed and swore at the police at a roadblock along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah.
He was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment and fined RM1,000 after pleading guilty.
At the Bukit Mertajam court, 77 people were charged with breaching the MCO and all but one pleaded guilty.
From this group, 53 were fined RM1,000 each while the sentencing for two teenagers, aged 16 and 17 years’ old, will be delivered on May 14 pending their disciplinary reports.
The court also fixed May 14 for mention of the case involving another teenager who claimed trial.
Another 21 people — all foreigners — did not enter their pleas as they did not understand the charges read out to them in Malay. The court fixed May 14 to arrange for interpreters to read out the charges to them.
In Butterworth, 73 people pleaded guilty to breaching the MCO and received a RM1,000 fine each. Some were variously sentenced to imprisonment and three months’ compulsory attendance orders.
All 183 were arrested between March 24 and 29 during roadblocks and several operations by the authorities to enforce the MCO.
The MCO was put in place on March 18 and later extended to April 14.
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