11 nabbed after attending viral funeral procession in Penang

Screenshots of a now-removed video of the June 17 funeral procession in Butterworth, Penang.  (Photo: budakpenang7/TikTok)
Screenshots of a now-removed video of the June 17 funeral procession in Butterworth, Penang. (Photo: budakpenang7/TikTok)

Eleven men are in police custody after they were filmed in a viral video attending a funeral procession in Butterworth, Penang.

The group, aged 15 to 35, were being investigated for gang affiliations and possibly violating COVID-19 measures during the June 17 incident. A video of the incident showed a group carrying a coffin and accompanied by a percussion band, while several others carried a banner printed with a photo of the deceased, as well as a sign believed to be associated with a gang.

The men were arrested yesterday on suspicion of being a part of an unlawful society, internet abuse, being negligent in likely spreading a disease dangerous to life, and being part of a gathering deemed illegal under the Movement Control Order lockdown. 

If found guilty, they could be jailed, fined, or both. 

The funeral was held for a 23-year-old man who died of tuberculosis on June 16. Those who attended had also brushed off the undertaker’s advice against removing the deceased’s casket from the hearse, according to Seberang Perai Utara district police chief Noorzainy Mohd Noor yesterday. The procession towards a Hindu crematorium on Jalan Siram was held the next day. 

Police were searching for others who took part in the procession, which was believed to involve about 15 to 20 people.

The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (No. 5) Regulations 2020 limited funeral gatherings to 20 attendees with social distancing. 

The viral video said to be posted to TikTok by one of the men in custody appeared to have been removed. 

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