Gas station worker in New Taipei arrested for coronavirus prank

18-year-old subject to NT$3 million fine after telling customer he had contracted coronavirus

(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A part-time worker at a gas station in New Taipei has been arrested for pulling a prank on one of his customers by claiming that he had tested positive for Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

The customer, a middle-aged woman who shared the incident on Facebook, said she had stopped at a gas station in Sanchong District on Tuesday (April 7) to refill the tank of her scooter, when she noticed that the worker, surnamed Ko (柯), was not wearing a mask.

The woman said that when she asked Ko if masks were required by the company, he told her that he had contracted the coronavirus but that there was no need for him to wear a mask since he had already taken medication.

After the 18-year-old reassured her that he was not joking, saying felt very warm in his chest area, the woman immediately reported her encounter to local health authorities. After the police arrested him, Ko confessed that he had been displeased by the woman's inquiry and decided to scare her with a prank, reported UDN.

According to Article 63 of the Communicable Disease Control Act, individuals who "disseminate rumors or incorrect information concerning epidemic conditions of communicable diseases" will be fined up to NT$3 million (US$100,000). The police stressed that Ko will be referred to prosecutors to determine his punishment and that no pandemic-related pranks will be tolerated, reported ETtoday.

Taiwanese teen arrested for prank. (Youtube screengrab)