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HK’s first local variant patient gets 3 months for lying to contact-tracers

05 July 2021

Vir B. Lumicao 

Rizvi on his way to court for the first day of his hearing (SCMP photo)

An Indian man who prompted a government order for all foreign domestic helpers to get tested for Covid-19 was sentenced to three months in jail today, Jul 3, on six charges of lying about his whereabouts after being found infected with the coronavirus variant.

Syed Mohamed Rizvi, 30, had pleaded guilty on all six counts giving false information to an authorized officer.


His Filipina partner, Victoria Marie Guadiz, 31, was allowed to walk away free after being sentenced to 20 days, the total time she spent in custody after pleading guilty to one count of the same offence. 

Both were out on bail pending the sentencing.

Magistrate Ada Yim sentenced Rizvi  to 2 months for two counts of giving false information on Apr 16 to a nurse who was tracing his movements on Apr 10 to 12, after he ended his  hotel quarantine and moved into Guadiz’ flat in Jordan.

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He was sentenced an extra 3 months in jail for lying on Apr 17 during a video call with an Immigration officer who was also doing contact tracing. Both sentences will run concurrently.

In sentencing, the magistrate said that Rizvi, the first person in the community found infected with the N501Y variant of Covid-19, put the public’s health at great risk when he lied about his whereabouts on Apr 10 to 12.


“The worry of our health officials is that an invisible carrier will spread the variant in the community. This court wants to send a clear message to the public to give the right information for the sake of everyone’s safety,” said Yim.

Yim said by lying about his movements at the initial contact-tracing interviews, Rizvi started a cluster outbreak that infected 11 other people, sent more than a thousand to quarantine, and placed all foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong under compulsory testing for coronavirus.

All FDHs were put under compulsory testing twice amid fears they were spreading the variant

Three Filipina DHs who attended a gathering in Sham Shui Po hosted by Guadiz’s brother, who was himself infected by Rizvi, were all found to carry the variant. As the source of their infection was not known initially, the government ordered all FDHs to undergo compulsory testing.


One of the helpers who lives in Caribbean Coast, Tung Chung, unknowingly passed on the variant to her female employer and 10-month-old ward, prompting health authorities to send all residents of the housing block where they live to quarantine.

Guadiz, 31, who worked as a receptionist at a clinic in Central, was arrested along with Rizvi on May 8.

Summarizing the case against the two defendants, Yim said Rizvi lied to an Immigration officer when he falsely said he stayed alone at Guadiz’ flat at 10/F Parkes Building on Parkes St., Yaumatei, on Apr 10 and never went out.

He also lied on Apr 11, when he said he went to buy food in Jordan in the morning and to Tsim Sha Tsui to buy a cake at 5pm. Then he maintained he did not attend any family gathering on Apr 13 in Chai Wan and just stayed in Guadiz’s flat.

It was found out later that on Apr 10, he and Guadiz went to Citygate, then to Tong Fuk Village in Tung Chung for a gathering, before spending the night at Novotel. They also dined at Zak’s in Discovery Bay.

Caribbean Coast residents lineup to get tested; those living in block 10 were moved to quarantine

Later, he joined Guadiz in a family gathering at her mother’s flat in Fung Hing House, Hing Wah Estate, Chai Wan. After that party, Guadiz’s mother, brother, his partner and their baby son, were all found to also carry the variant.

Guadiz was charged for initially giving a wrong name to a nurse named Tang who interviewed her on the phone, and for denying she knew Rizvi.

But when another nurse interviewing Rizvi sent the man’s name to Tang via Whatsapp, the Filipina finally admitted she knew him and that they had both gone to Cheung Chau. She immediately recanted and hung up the phone, however, after being told that the man had N501Y infection.

The magistrate said she considered the mitigation cited by the defendant’s lawyer, who said that at the time he tested positive for the variant, he was about to leave for Dubai to return to his job as an engineer.

The defendant was said to have been shocked when he learned he was positive for the variant, and decided not to disclose his movements as he did not want to lose his job, which paid him the equivalent of $23,400 a month.

Rizvi, who holds a Hong Kong ID card, was said to have been born and educated in Hong Kong but had moved to Dubai to work eight years ago.

His lawyer said Rizvi was very remorseful for what he had done and offered his apology to the Hong Kong public whose health he had put at risk. He was especially sorry for the people who got infected, including his partner and her relatives and friends.

Guadiz shields her face from the cameras as she walked free from court

Yim also cited Guadiz’s mitigation, her clear record and her being a nurse who came to Hong Kong in 2008 despite a job offer in the United States.

Her Filipino lawyer, solicitor Gerard Morada, asked for a lenient sentence that would allow her to continue working soon because her 92-year-old grandmother in the Philippines relies on her for medical and financial support. 

After the sentencing, reporters waited two hours on the ground floor of the Kowloon City courthouse waiting for Guadiz to come out.

But when she emerged from the door, the elusive Guadiz shielded her face with a piece of paper and ran with her two companions to a waiting taxicab which then drove away.
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