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Gasoline boy in New Taipei arrested, can be fined NT$3-million for a COVID-19 prank

An 18-year old part-time worker at a gasoline station in New Taipei was arrested for pranking a customer saying that he is infected with the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The customer is a middle-aged woman who stopped at a gas station in Sanchong district on Tuesday (April 7) to refill the tank of her scooter.

The woman asked the worker, surnamed Ko, if the company requires a mask after noticing that Ko is not wearing one. Ko then answered the woman that he has COVID-19 but there was no need for him to wear mask since he had already taken medication.

The customer immediately reported the teen to local health authorities after she had been convinced that the teen is being serious with his condition. Later on, Ko was arrested and confessed that he just felt irritated by the woman's inquiry and decided to scare her with a prank.

The policed said that Ko will be referred to  prosecutors to determine his punishment and that no pandemic pranks will be tolerated.

In Article 63 of the Communicable Disease Control Act, it was stated that individuals who "disseminate rumors or incorrect information concerning epidemic conditions of communicable diseases" will be fined up to NT$3 million (US$100,000).

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