Unlawful border crossings and out-of-control parties among latest COVID-19 breaches

Two people were charged and eight Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) were issued yesterday in relation to various breaches of Public Health Orders across NSW in recent days.

Just before 7pm on Monday 17 August 2020, officers attached to Operation Border Control stopped four vehicles driving in convoy at a border checkpoint on the Murray Valley Highway, Euston.

Police spoke with the occupants – 10 Malaysian nationals, including a 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman – all of whom presented Victorian border resident permits and advised they planned to drive to Coffs Harbour to find work as fruit pickers.

After advising the group their permits did not allow for travel beyond the border zone and that they would be required to fly into Sydney and quarantine in hotel before they could continue north, the group was refused entry and directed to return to Victoria.

Last Thursday (27 August 2020), officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District received information that the 26-year-old woman had presented at Coffs Harbour Hospital to give birth in company with the 28-year-old man, and it was suspected they crossed the border unlawfully.

Police spoke with the pair after she was discharged from hospital yesterday (Monday 31 August 2020), and it was established they crossed at a different location on the border resident permit.

The pair was issued Court Attendance Notices for not comply with noticed direction re s 7/8/9 – COVID-19. They are both due to appear at Coffs Harbour Local Court on Monday 14 September 2020.

Inquiries into the incident are continuing.

The Penalty Infringement Notices include:

About 1.40am on Sunday 2 August 2020, officers from South Sydney Police Area Command spoke with a 25-year-old man on Sam Sing Street, Waterloo, while conducting inquiries into an unrelated incident. It was established that the man had recently returned from Melbourne and was out walking in contravention of self-isolation directions. The man was directed to return to his home and advised he would receive a $1000 PIN, which was issued yesterday (Monday 31 August 2020).

About 11.30pm last Wednesday (26 August 2020), officers from Monaro Police District were contacted following reports of a large party in the staff quarters of a resort at Jindabyne. As the officers approached the unit, a partygoer alerted the occupants of the police presence and 20-30 people ran from the area. Police then located at least 30 people inside the unit, however none were the occupants. The group were given warnings in relation to the Public Health Orders before being dispersed. Following inquiries with hotel management to identify the occupants, two men – aged 22 and 25 – were each issued a $1000 PIN yesterday (Monday 31 August 2020). Inquiries are continuing and further PINs are expected to be issued.

About 8.30am last Friday (28 August 2020), officers from Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command attended a restaurant on Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, following reports a man was refusing to leave. On arrival, police were advised the man had left, but the officers observed a number of issues and requested to see the COVID Safety Plan, which could not be produced due to a recent change of ownership and management. Police subsequently directed the 59-year-old male co-owner to complete and register a plan immediately. Following further inquiries, which established the change of ownership was more than a month ago, police spoke with the co-owner yesterday (Monday 31 August 2020), and he was issued a $5000 PIN.

Officers from Mt Druitt Police Area Command responded to reports of a large house party at Lethbridge Park about 12.30am on Saturday (29 August 2020). Police located about 100 people at the home, with a number of teens becoming aggressive and violent. Four teenagers were charged over the public order incident and remain before the courts. Following further inquiries, the 22-year-old female resident was issued a $1000 PIN yesterday (Monday 31 August 2020).

About 8pm on Saturday (29 August 2020), officers from Marine Area Command met a vessel at King Street Wharf after receiving information in relation to possible breaches of Public Health Orders during the charter. Police observed 41 people on board, who were not observing social distancing or directions under the Public Health Act and after speaking with the ship’s master, it was established the vessel’s COVID Safety Plan was incomplete. Following inquiries, the business manager attended The Rocks Police Station about 3pm yesterday (Monday 31 August 2020), where he was served a $5000 PIN.

Officers from Mid North Coast Police District attended a field on Boyters Lane, Jerseyville, about 10.30pm on Saturday (29 August 2020), following reports of a large party. On arrival, police observed at least 80 people inside a shed who were displaying little regard for current health advice. After officers attempted to disperse the crowd, many attendees became aggressive towards them and threw glass bottles. The officers retreated outside to await back-up, but the group began to disperse leaving a small number who were packing up electrical equipment. Following further inquiries, a 22-year-old Port Macquarie man and a 24-year-old West Kempsey woman were advised they would receive a $1000 PIN, while a 14-year-old boy was given a warning under the Young Offenders Act.

Police continue to appeal to the community to report suspected breaches of any ministerial direction or behaviour which may impact on the health and safety of the community.

Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au Information is treated in strict confidence.

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