Two young women who sparked Queensland’s coronavirus outbreak are probed over alleged links to a crime syndicate which ‘helped them cover their tracks at the border’
- Olivia Muranga and Diana Lasu arrived in Brisbane from Melbourne on July 21
- All Victorian residents were banned from entering Queensland from July 9
- However the women allegedly entered Sunshine State by flying via Sydney
- Three women were charged for providing false information on declarations
- A criminal investigation is also underway unrelated to their travel to Victoria
Police are investigating whether two young women who sparked coronavirus panic in Queensland were coached by an organised crime syndicate to cover their tracks at the border.
Diana Lasu, 21, and Olivia Winnie Muranga, 19, allegedly lied on their border declarations about where they had been when they arrived in Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21.
Days later they felt sick but carried on working, socialising and visiting restaurants and cocktail bars while waiting for their test results – which came back positive.
The pair, along with another unidentified 21-year-old woman, have been charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents and fraud over their alleged lies to authorities when they arrived in Brisbane.
A criminal investigation is also underway looking at their alleged involvement in a crime syndicate where luxury items, such as handbags, were stolen and transported between cities, ABC reported.
Olivia Winnie Muranga (left) and Diana Lasu, (right) both 19, arrived together in Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21
Pictured: Olivia Winnie Muranga. She, Ms Lasu and an unidentified family member have become the first people in Queensland to test positive for COVID-19 since May
It is understood part of the investigation will examine whether the women were instructed by handlers to evade quarantine with measures such as destroying their cellphones.
Police said the investigation is being undertaken by Task Force Sierra Linnet and is unrelated and not connected to the alleged travel to Victoria.
The women allegedly travelled on Virgin Australia flight 863 from Melbourne to Sydney, to make it appear they hadn’t come from Melbourne.
Shortly afterwards they allegedly boarded flight VA 977 to Brisbane.
Ms Muranga allegedly went to work for two days at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of Brisbane. Pictured are people lining up at the college to get a COVID-19 test after a pop-up clinic was set up on Thursday
Ms Muranga and Ms Lasu, as well as one of their immediate family members, on Wednesday became the first three cases of coronavirus in the Queensland community since May.
Ms Lasu (pictured) and Ms Muranga are accused of making false declarations on their border paperwork
The test results for the third unidentified traveller who allegedly crossed the border with them have not been released yet.
Queensland Police on Thursday afternoon said three women had been charged for allegedly providing false information on their border declarations.
A 19-year-old Heritage Park woman, a 21-year-old Acacia Ridge woman and a 21-year-old Algester woman were all charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents and fraud.
The women could be fined $13,345 or sent to jail for a maximum of five years.
Police said the trio are now cooperating with officers and Queensland Health officials.
The women are in quarantine and will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on September 28.
INFECTED WOMEN’S ALLEGED ITINERARY:
July 21: Olivia Winnie Muranga flies into Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21 with Diana Lasu and an unidentified friend
July 24: Muranga, a cleaner, allegedly calls in sick to Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of Brisbane after going to work for two days
July 25: Muranga goes to the doctor and is told to get tested
July 27: She finally gets tested, but is spotted getting a drink with a friend within hours at the Cowch dessert cocktail bar on Brisbane’s Southbank
July 27-29: Muranga is allegedly active in the community again
July 29: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces two women who allegedly lied on their declaration forms to enter the state have tested positive for COVID-19
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young called the pair ‘reckless’ and said she was ‘very disappointed’.
July 30: Three women are charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents and fraud