Pair nabbed for spreading fake virus news
A Bangkok woman and another in Rayong were arrested on Tuesday for spreading fake news online about the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, according to Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta.
Mr Buddhipongse joined a team of officials from his ministry and the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) for a raid in which the owner of a grocery store in Huai Khwang district of Bangkok was taken into custody.
The unnamed shop owner was accused of posting a sham report on Twitter saying a person had died of Covid-19 at a shopping mall in the Rama IX area and 40 other people had subsequently been quarantined, said the ministry.
The suspect claimed she tweeted the story to warn her friends and customers after reading the news online and assuming it to be true.
She admitted to not verifying the news first but claimed she did not know how to prove whether the story was accurate. She said she had made a point of also tweeting that she wasn't sure whether the report was true or not.
Spreading fake news about Covid-19 is deemed a violation of the Computer Crime Act and carries a penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of 100,000 baht.
Meanwhile in Rayong yesterday, a female vendor was arrested for spreading a fake story alleging that a school in the province had covered up the death of a student from Covid-19.
The suspect was taken to TCSD headquarters for questioning.