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Indian man in variant outbreak faces new charge, denied bail

10 May 2021

 By Vir B. Lumicao 

The accused inside a police van as  he arrived at Kowlon City Court  (SCMP photo)

An Indian engineer identified as the index patient in the recent spread of the coronavirus variant was told that he faces an additional charge of giving false information to an Immigration officer when he appeared in Kowloon City court today, May 10.

Syed Mohammed Rizvi, 29, appeared before Magistrate Ada Yim on a charge of lying to a medical officer when providing information about his whereabouts between leaving his hotel quarantine and being found to carry the variant on Apr 16.


He was supposed to appear with his Filipina girlfriend, Victoria Marie A. Guadiz, 31, who is accused of failing to give information to an authorized officer, but she was reportedly taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital this morning with fever.

The prosecutor said Guadiz, a receptionist at a medical clinic in Central, could be discharged by Thursday. Yim said that in that case, the defendant should be called back to court on Friday so the charge could be read to her.

Pindutin para sa detalye

The magistrate also ordered Rizvi remanded in custody until Jul 2, citing the severity of the charges against him, and his lack of family ties in Hong Kong. She took note of the prosecutor's statement that the defendant would be charged with the more serious immigration offense at the next hearing.

The prosecutor told the court that Rizvi arrived from Dubai on Mar 19 and was released from a 21-day quarantine on Apr 8. He then went to live with Guadiz in a flat in Parkes Building on Jordan Road.

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On Apr 16, he was found to carry a coronavirus variant. When interviewed by a nurse at the hospital where he was taken about his whereabouts on Apr 10-11, he reportedly said he just went around Jordan and Tsim Sha Tsui, as well as Cheung Chau.

On Apr 28, after a Filipina domestic worker in Tung Chung was found to carry a variant identical to his, Rizvi admitted he and Guadiz visited Citygate mall on Apr 11 and dined in a restaurant elsewhere in Tung Chung. They also went for a meal in Discovery Bay.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

Later it emerged that the pair had also been to several places, said the prosecutor. These included a visit to Tong Fuk village on Apr 10, after which they spent the night at Novotel hotel in Tung Chung.

“Further, they visited D2’s (Guadiz) family on Apr 13 for a gathering,” said the prosecutor.

The prosecutor said that they are considering laying further charges of giving false information to immigration officers “on each defendant.”


Rizvi allegedly provided “false information about his contacts and whereabouts” when interviewed by an immigration officer. No further details were given but he was given a copy of the particulars of the charge.

In opposing bail, the prosecution said the defendant lacked local ties. Although a Hong Kong ID card holder, he is not a permanent resident and was merely visiting.

Thousands of people were tested in Tung Chung where 3 residents were infected with the variant  

She also said that because of Rizvi’s false information, more than 1,000 people residing in a housing block had to be sent to quarantine.

Eight people found to carry the South African variant had been linked to Rizvi, who is believed to have been infected during his 21-day quarantine at Ramada Grand in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The mini-cluster includes, apart from the two, the helper in Tung Chung, her employer and 10-month-old ward; two Filipina domestic helpers who attended a gathering hosted by Guadiz’s brother; as well as her mother.

More than 2,000 residents of at least four housing blocks were moved to quarantine centers until the direct link among the eight infections was uncovered.

Rizvi pleaded to be allowed bail, saying he had two uncles in Hong Kong with whom he could live while waiting for his next court appointment. He also promised to surrender his passport and report to police regularly if he is granted bail.

However, when Magistrate Yim asked him where he stayed after being released from hospital, Rizvi said he stayed with a friend in Jordan.

He said he always stayed with his uncles whenever he came to Hong Kong because they were his family, but he had to live in his friend’s flat in Jordan because he was planning to return to Dubai and had left his luggage there.

The prosecution said police are still making further enquiry and applied to obtain CCTV footages from the shops that Rizvi and his girlfriend visited.

Rizvi said he needs a lawyer but Yim replied he does not qualify for the Duty Lawyer Service so he would need to find a private counsel.

The magistrate set the trial from Jul 2 to 7 and told the defendant to engage a lawyer.

Yim also told Rizvi he could apply for bail again on May 18, during his bail review in the same court. Alternatively he could file a bail application at the Court of First Instance.


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