Five fake news cases on the coronavirus being investigated by police

PETALING JAYA: Bukit Aman is investigating five cases of fake news circulating through social media about the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), says Comm Datuk Huzir Mohamed.

The Bukit Aman CID director said in one of the cases, police began investigating the Facebook page of "Kong Tuck Wah" on Jan 25, after finding it spreading false information on the virus.

"The case is being investigated under Section 203(A) of the Penal Code for giving false information. The offence carries not more than RM1mil fine or up to a year imprisonment or both upon conviction.

"It is also being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998," he said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 29).

Three other Facebook accounts being investigated are the ones with usernames "Ibu Yati","Roti Sardeen" and "Gabungan Anak Terengganu", he added.

"These accounts contained postings that stoke fear among the public and might jeopardise public order.

"One of the accounts was about the alleged arrival of tourists from China, suspected of being infected while another allegedly made false claims of a China national, who died in Malaysia because of the virus," Comm Huzir said.

We are also investigating the spread of fake news via WhatsApp, which alleged that a prison inmate died suddenly at Sandakan Prison due to the virus, he added.

"We believe the spread of such fake news will disrupt public order and incite fear among the people," he said.

Comm Huzir said he understood that the outbreak was of concern to the public.

"The government is taking necessary actions to deal with the virus.

"We urge the people to stop spreading any unverified information, article or statement concerning this issue," he said.

The action of any party, who wants to be the "champion" on the Internet, including on social media, by spreading unverified news will be dealt with in accordance to the law, he added.

"Rely only on official channels to get the latest information on the virus. Log in to the Health Ministry official website or statements issued by the ministry," Comm Huzir said.

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