A prankster is facing up to five years in prison for causing panic on the Moscow underground by collapsing and pretending he was dying of coronavirus.
The blogger – named as Karomat Dzhaborov, who had done the prank for online likes and money from advertising revenue – collapsed on the floor in front of horrified passengers.
People came to his aid but then ran off screaming shouting ‘Coronavirus!’ in a bid to scare other passengers.
These ‘heroes’ turned out to be actors and friends of Dzhaborov who were in on the scam.
The blogger and his friends now face time in prison in Russia after the police saw his joke online and charged him with deliberately “provoked panic” on the subway and also suspected them of hooliganism, an act which carries up to 5 years in prison.
Dzhaborov handed himself into the police.
His lawyer said Dzhaborov didn’t expect that the clip would lead to such harsh consequences. He claimed that Dzhaborov’s intentions were good when he staged his prank. “The aim was to attract public attention to the lack of face masks; to the problem of the coronavirus and the need for people to protect themselves with masks,” he explained.
But it’s the investigators who will now be looking into Dzhaborov’s motives, as the court ordered the detention of the prankster for 30 days, pending the probe.
Two of the prankster’s accomplices were detained by the police later on Monday and have been placed under travel restrictions. Computers and smartphones with evidence in the case were seized from their homes.
Russia are sensitive to the coronavirus pandemic after suffering 1.2 million cases with 21,251 deaths.
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