By Alfred Sasako
FIFTY-THREE people, four of them women, were arrested for allegedly breaching emergency rules under the 8pm-5am curfew, which came into force for the first time on Friday night, police said last night.
They face a $10, 000-fine, five years in prison or both, a police statement said.
“They have been placed in the Naha and Honiara City Central police station watch houses awaiting further dealings from the National Criminal Investigation Department (NCID) through advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
“Five detained vehicles are also awaiting a Court decision,” the statement said.
“(The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force) (RSIPF) strongly warns our good people to take this matter seriously and avoid breaching the curfew regulation under the State of Public Emergency as the Government tries to keep us safe from this deadly virus,” Acting Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau said.
“Ships and vessel owners are advised to adhere to this order and manage your travelling and arrival time [outside] the period of the curfew,” Mr. Mangau said, adding people should be at home before the curfew which starts at 8pm every day.
“There are heavy penalties including fines and imprisonment for anyone who is found guilty of disobeying the curfew. The fine will be $10,000-00 or five years imprisonment or both.”
“I appeal to all citizens of Honiara and of Guadalcanal to observe this curfew order and stay at home during the curfew period. Do not go out unless it is critical. Let us work together with the Government as it tries its best to protect us all and our children from COVID-19,” Acting Commissioner Mangau said.
The curfew is part of an $8.1 million police operation to enforce the state of emergency orders first announced by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Friday 27th March.
Under the orders, Honiara is a designated emergency zone, which stretches from Alligator Creek in the east to Poha River on the west. The orders have since been ramped up with the introduction of a five-hour nightly curfew
Armed police have also been deployed to the border with Bougainville, the acting commissioner told a news conference on Thursday. The deployment which is expected this weekend, will take the number of police officers at the common sea border to 30.
They will form part of the team consisting of health workers, Customs and Quarantine officers who are already in the border area to ensure no coronavirus infection enters the country.