As the coronavirus outbreak sparks concerns globally, a prankster has come under fire for imitating the symptoms of the virus as a joke while travelling on a metro and causing a public panic. The man was arrested by Russian authorities and now faces 5 years jail time.
According to CNN, a footage showing a young man wearing a mask and collapsing on the Moscow Metro went viral on social media recently. In the video, the prankster was seen collapsing on the floor and having a seizure as his friends announced to the travellers that he has coronavirus, causing them to panic in the metro.
Reportedly the man, who is from Tajikistan and pulled off the prank is Karomatullo Dzhaborov and was later detained by the Russian police on February 8. The police arrested him on the charges of hooliganism, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in a prison in Russia.
The video was shared by Karomatullo on February 2 on his social media page called kara.prank on Instagram and YouTube. It has since been removed from both the platforms.
After his arrest, the man’s two accomplices were also identified by the authorities and were asked to leave Moscow by Russia’s Interior Ministry, CNN reported.
According to the man’s lawyer Alexei Popov though, Karomatullo apparently pulled off the prank to raise awareness about the disease.
Popov told CNN, “This video should not be viewed separately from his other videos. They shot videos in stores asking people if they were aware of the coronavirus. They shot videos in pharmacies which were selling masks at inflated prices. They wanted to draw the attention of the authorities to the problem; there is no evidence of a crime.”
Karomatullo Dzhaborov has a channel on which he regularly posts videos.