A man has been arrested in Russia after he decided to "prank" people in a metro train by pretending to be affected by the deadly coronavirus.
In a video of the insensitive prank that has been going viral on social media, a man can be seen pretending to swoon and faint inside a moving metro in Moscow. The man goes on to feign seizures and twitching to convince his fellow passengers that he was indeed a victim of novel coronavirus, a viral epidemic that has taken over a thousand lives in China.
The incident has ruffled feathers in Russia. A Russian Interior Ministry spokesperson Irina Volk issued a statement regarding the incident in which she said, "Accomplices shouted phrases about the presence of a dangerous viral infection… provoking panic among passengers".
Когда пранк вышел из-под контроля!В Москве задержали шутника, разыгравшего в метро приступ коронавируса. Полиция попросила Черемушкинский суд столицы арестовать молодого человека. pic.twitter.com/fmT17RUijQ— ВЕСТИ (@vesti_news) February 10, 2020
The man was identified as a Tajiskistani national by the name of Karomatullo Dzhaborov.
As per a report in the CNN, the man was later booked by cops and detained for "suspicion of criminal hooliganism". If convicted, the prankster stands to go to jail for five years. Two of his accomplices have also been identified.
The video appeared on Twitter on February 2 and soon spread to other platforms. However, since the police action, the video has been removed from most platforms including he micro-blogging site.
The suspect's lawyer Alexei Popov, however, told Russian state news agency TASS that through the prank, Dzhaborov was in fact trying to raise "awareness" about coronavirus. He said that the "prank" video had to be viewed in conjunction with Dzhaborov's other content for better clarity.