The party, which was in clear violation of Victoria State’s stay-at-home order, was discovered after two people were seen ordering about 20 meals at a KFC store located in the suburb of Dandenong at around 1 a.m., July 10.
According to the police, two ambulance workers who were also at the store at that time found the large order suspicious. As detailed by the authorities involved in the case, the two workers talked to the two individuals who placed the orders before notifying the police of their suspicions.
The police, after obtaining their car’s registration number, then followed the suspects to a townhouse back in Dandenong, where they found a group of people in the middle of a party.
The guests, police said, tried to hide in the backyard, garage and even under beds.
Sixteen guests were hit with fines, the police said.
In a press conference, Victoria Chief Commissioner Shane Patton slammed the party and other similar incidents, noting that people who refuse to comply with the state’s stay-at-home restrictions exhibit behavior that is “unacceptable” and “selfish.”
“That is absolutely ridiculous that type of behavior, and it’s a very expensive night,” Patton said, noting that the fine, which amounted to $26,000 AUD, or roughly $18,000 USD, would make sure that the guests will remember the incident for years to come. (Related: Coronavirus to cause Australia’s unemployment to soar to 10 percent by June.)
“That’s a heck of a birthday party to recall and they’ll remember that one for a long time,” Patton stated.
The Dandenong incident, unfortunately, was not an isolated case, with authorities noting that Victoria police have handed out more than 500 fines totaling $902,000 AUD, or approximately $632,100 USD, just six days after the announcement of new restrictions.
“A particular concern for us is the ongoing parties and gatherings,” Rick Nugent, the state’s acting assistant police commissioner, said.
Among the violators of the state’s new restrictions were two men who were caught playing the mobile game Pokemon Go inside a parked car, a group of friends who claimed to be “charging their phones” at their friend’s home and a man who insisted on sitting down and eating his meal at a KFC outlet.
“That conduct won’t be permitted. If the public doesn’t comply, we will continue to ramp up our infringement issue. It’s as simple as that. The warning is, there are consequences,” Patton said.
Victoria recently enacted new restrictions following an uptick in cases of COVID-19, the highly-infectious and potentially-deadly disease caused by SARS-COV-2, which originated late last year in China.
As of press time, the state of Victoria currently has 5,942 confirmed COVID-19 infections, of which 2,933 have recovered and 39 have died.
Under the new restrictions, enacted by Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, people are only allowed to leave their places of residence for four main reasons: work or study, exercise, shopping for supplies and medical care.
The new restrictions, which are expected to affect about 5 million people, will be in place for six weeks, Andrews said, noting that this could be extended or even intensified if people don’t change their behaviors.
“If you don’t want a stage four if you don’t want the lockdown to last a moment longer, then please follow the rules,” Andrews stated in a press conference.
Andrews, however, provided no detail on what additional restrictions may be considered.
Australia currently has 12,069 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to its Health Department.
For more stories on COVID-19, visit Pandemic.news.