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Malaysia arrests 4 more people for spreading false information about Wuhan virus

Malaysia arrests 4 more people for spreading false information about Wuhan virus

Passengers pass by a banner about novel coronavirus at a thermal screening point at the international arrival terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Jan 21, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Wednesday (Jan 29) arrested four people on suspicion of spreading false information about the Wuhan virus on social media.

The four people, aged between 24 and 49, were arrested in separate raids carried out in Malacca, Kedah and Pahang, said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in a statement.

One of those arrested was a part-time tutor, aged 49, who was arrested for "uploading fake content pertaining to the virus" on Facebook, said the statement.

In Malacca, two pharmacists, aged 25 and 30, were also detained over their Facebook posts.

The fourth person, a 24-year-old university student, was arrested for sharing "fake content" on Twitter.

The authorities seized four mobile phones, five SIM cards and two memory cards during the raids.

Those found guilty of sharing offensive and menacing content under Malaysia's Communications and Multimedia Act could be fined up to RM50,000 (US$12,230), jailed for up to one year, or both. They could also be fined a further RM1,000 for every day the offence is continued after conviction.

On Tuesday, a 34-year-old was also arrested in Selangor for spreading fake news about the coronavirus on Facebook.

There have been eight confirmed cases of the virus in Malaysia, all Chinese nationals.

There are also about 78 Malaysian citizens in Wuhan, Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday.

He also said Malaysia would continue to ban Chinese nationals from Hubei province from entering the country.

At least 170 people in China have died from the Wuhan virus outbreak and more than 7,700 people there have been infected with the disease.

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