Mistaken for quarantine violators

Not what it seems: Lim showing the Husky and the Gang pink wristbands at her pet cafe at New World Park in George Town.

GEORGE TOWN: Anything pinkish worn on your wrist can trigger quite a reaction in Malaysia these days, as was proven here recently.

A couple innocently wearing pink wristbands found “social media fame” when a sneak photo of them went viral and they even had a police report lodged against them.

Their bands were actually wrist-worn entry passes to a section in a pet cafe where people can interact with pedigree dogs.

Because their photo went viral as people became alarmed that they were yet another case of Covid-19 quarantine violators, police went searching for them.

The pet cafe’s owner, Cora Lim, was surprised because they had sold thousands of the pink entry passes in the last two years without issue.

“Pink is my favourite colour and so that is the colour scheme of my cafe. Customers get to interact with 10 Siberian huskies and an Alaskan malamute all day with the pink entry passes.

“Tourists who come usually bring the bands back as a souvenir, ” said Lim yesterday, adding that there are also 20 dogs of various breeds such as corgi, shiba inu, golden retriever, poodle and Jack Russell terrier in the cafe.

Asked if she would change the colour of the bands, Lim said only if authorities ordered her to do so.

On Sunday, the couple, a 21-year-old man and 22-year-old woman from Butterworth, was spotted wandering near Penang Hill’s car park and someone took a photo of them.

In the social media post, the person who took the photo claimed to see the words “High Risk” on the pink wristband.

It actually says: “Husky and the Gang”.

Many people on social media praised the vigilance of the person who first took the photo.

But there were others who criticised the act as raising unnecessary alarm without verifying the offence.

“I would step forward and confront anyone wearing a pink wristband. If I just take a photo of such people and post it on the Internet without being sure myself, it might cause a panic, ” commented a netizen.

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Soffian Santong said police asked the couple to drop by the station.

“They planned to return to the pet cafe later in the day and so they kept the wrist bands on when they went to Penang Hill.

“They queued to buy tickets for the Penang Hill train at about 3pm on Sunday but after waiting an hour, they cancelled their plans and went to a shopping mall instead.

“Checks with the Health Ministry found that they were not listed as persons under surveillance. They have never even left the country, ” said ACP Soffian.

People entering Malaysia from abroad must wear pink wristbands and undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The bands can only be removed by medical officers after the final day of quarantine or they will be fined RM1,000.

Earlier, the government allowed returnees to quarantine in the comfort of their homes.

But it was discovered that more than half the returnees did not observe the quarantine fully and since the start of this month, returnees to Malaysia must complete the quarantine in government centres.

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