38 individuals were detained for violating the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) to take pictures of flowers at a pond in Melaka yesterday, 26 May
The group was spotted enjoying a picturesque view of purple water hyacinths on a pond in Taman Semabok Perdana without practising social distancing.
According to Bernama, those detained included three babies, six children, two teens, and seven elderly folks.
Central Melaka police chief assistant commissioner Afzanizar Ahmad said the other 20 individuals - aged between 19 and 55 - were fined RM1,000 for breaching Rule 7(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020.
The police raided the area at about 12pm on Tuesday.
Afzanizar said the arrest came after the police had warned the public against gathering at the pond amidst the CMCO
Harian Metro reported the district police chief as saying that the standard operating procedure (SOP) under the CMCO stipulates that people are not allowed to gather in any recreational area to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The group was told to disperse, but they stubbornly refused. Thus, it resulted in 20 individuals being taken to the Central Melaka police headquarters to face compounds amounting to RM1,000 each.
Afzanizar added that the police are now working with local authorities and the People's Volunteer Corps (RELA) officers to tighten control of the area after seeing a high public presence and people not practising social distancing at the pond.
Taman Semabok Perdana used to be a fishing spot, but as of late, it has become a popular site for the spectacular scenery adorned with purple flowers
In an earlier report by Harian Metro, the sight of the pond was compared to a springtime scenery in Europe.
A local living in the area said the growth of the water hyacinths is as wide as a football field. However, an elderly pensioner said that the plant originated from South America is actually bad for the environment.
According to him, although the plant creates a spectacular view, it causes oxygen depletion in the water and affects fish breeding.
A fact sheet by BioNET-EAFRINET noted that the water hyacinth, also known by its scientific name Eichhornia Crassipes, is widely considered to be the world's worst water weed.
"It clogs waterways preventing river travel, blocks irrigation canals, destroys paddy rice fields, and ruins fishing grounds. By shading the water, these plants can deprive native freshwater plants of sunlight and animals of oxygenated water," it said.
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