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2020

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02

Overview of common criminal offenses during the epidemic period

The new type of pneumonia epidemic is affecting the hearts of the whole country. While various sectors of society are investing in the fight against the epidemic, some people have stirred up misguided thoughts. Some businesses are inflating prices and profiteering, while others are spreading rumors and causing panic among netizens. In fact, these behaviors have already violated the criminal law.


Overview of common criminal offenses during the epidemic period

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Lawyer Yang Juan

 

 

 

 

 

Unit: Guangdong Legal Shengbang Law Firm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  The new type of pneumonia epidemic is affecting the hearts of the whole country. While various sectors of society are investing in the fight against the epidemic, some people have stirred up misguided thoughts. Some businesses are inflating prices and profiteering, while others are spreading rumors and causing panic among netizens. In fact, these behaviors have already violated the criminal law.

 

 

 

 

 

  During the SARS outbreak in 2003, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate issued the "Interpretation on Several Issues Concerning the Specific Application of Laws in Handling Criminal Cases of Obstruction Prevention and Control of Sudden Infectious Disease Epidemic and Other Disasters", severely cracking down on 20 categories and 30 charges of criminal behavior during the sudden epidemic disaster period, which is also applicable to this epidemic. The following is a brief description of the most common charges during the epidemic:

 

 

 

 

  1. Crime of endangering public safety by dangerous means

 

 

 

Is it a crime to refuse to isolate, escape from the hospital, or even deliberately sneeze at unspecified people in public places to spread the virus and cause other people to become infected, knowing that you have been infected with "novel coronavirus" or a suspected patient?

 

  Those who intentionally spread pathogens of sudden infectious diseases and endanger public safety shall be convicted and punished according to the provisions of Article 114 and Article 115 (1) of the Criminal Law for the crime of endangering public safety by dangerous means.

  On January 31st, the Qinghai police issued a notice, the full text of which is as follows:

After preliminary investigation by the public security organ, Gou, a villager in Hanshuigou Village, Lijiashan Town, Huangzhong County, Xining City, has been working in Wuhan for a long time. After returning to Xining recently, Gou refused to implement the requirements of the Xining novel coronavirus infected pneumonia epidemic prevention, control and disposal headquarters that "personnel in key areas need to register with the community (village) and take the initiative to isolate at home", deliberately concealed the true itinerary and activities, and fabricated false information about the date of returning to Ningxia, Deliberately concealing symptoms such as fever and cough, deceiving investigation and visiting personnel, and actively contacting surrounding people multiple times. What is particularly egregious is that Gou intentionally concealed the fact that his son returned to Ning with him from Wuhan, and his son also had multiple activities outside and had close contact with the crowd.

At present, Gou and his son have been confirmed as confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infected pneumonia. Gou's behavior violates the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases and other relevant national laws and regulations, as well as the notice of the Xining novel coronavirus infected pneumonia prevention and control headquarters in Qinghai Province, seriously interfering with the epidemic prevention and control work, Gou is suspected of endangering public safety through dangerous methods and has been investigated by the public security organs. Relevant measures have been taken and he has been quarantined for treatment. 

2、Offence of Negligently Using Dangerous Methods to Harm Public Safety

  Do some individuals, without being diagnosed with infection, conceal their experiences in epidemic areas such as Wuhan or intentionally avoid visiting sensitive periods in the epidemic area, resulting in serious consequences such as others being infected? Should this be legally responsible?

  If a person suffers from a sudden infectious disease or is suspected of a sudden infectious disease and refuses to undergo quarantine, compulsory isolation, or treatment, and negligently causes the spread of an infectious disease, and the circumstances are serious and endanger public safety, they shall be convicted and punished according to the provisions of Article 115 (2) of the Criminal Law for the crime of endangering public safety through dangerous means through negligence.

  Zhou Yujun, a member of the China Health Law Society and a researcher at the Medical and Health Law Research Center of Central South University, explained that although the concealer has not been clearly diagnosed with a sudden infectious disease, or has been diagnosed with a suspected sudden infectious disease, the state and governments at all levels require the reporting of cases in epidemic areas with the aim of preventing the spread of sudden infectious diseases. The contact history in epidemic areas is an important epidemiological evidence in the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

  If the concealer is proven to have caused the contact to be infected, or even caused multiple people to be infected, in accordance with this provision, it is suspected of negligently endangering public safety through dangerous methods.

  3、Crime of fabricating or intentionally disseminating false terrorist information

  XX community has already had XX cases of infection! My friend is from that community, and I saw an ambulance pulling people away with my own eyes. Have you ever heard such rumors circulating in your WeChat group? Is spreading such information illegal?

  Anyone who fabricates terrorist information related to sudden infectious disease outbreaks or other disasters, or knowingly spreads such terrorist information with the knowledge that it is fabricated, seriously disrupting social order, shall be convicted and punished for the crime of fabricating or intentionally spreading false terrorist information in accordance with Article 29-1 of the Criminal Law.

  On January 28, the official microblog of Ping An Beijing forwarded a warning notice: on January 26, the Tongzhou police received a report from the masses that after an Internet user posted a post claiming to be infected with novel coronavirus, he deliberately went to a crowded place with the intention of infecting others. The Tongzhou police quickly launched an investigation and on the same day arrested the poster author Liu (male, 22 years old). After investigation, it was found that the person was not infected with the virus and was in good health. His confession claimed that he fabricated and spread false information out of a prank mentality. At present, Liu has been criminally detained by the Tongzhou Public Security Bureau on suspicion of fabricating or intentionally disseminating false terrorist information, and the case is currently being further processed.

 

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Image source: Tongzhou Police Online Official Weibo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  4. Crime of producing and selling counterfeit and inferior products

 

 

 

 

 

  During the epidemic, did manufacturers and sellers violate the law by discovering that the brand masks they purchased were fake?

 

 

 

 

During the prevention and control of sudden infectious disease outbreaks and other disasters, if the production or sale of fake and inferior prevention and protection products and materials, or the production or sale of fake or inferior drugs used for the prevention and control of infectious diseases, constitutes a crime, they shall be convicted of the crime of producing or selling fake or inferior products, the crime of producing or selling fake drugs, or the crime of producing or selling inferior drugs in accordance with the provisions of Articles 140, 141, and 142 of the Criminal Law, respectively, Punish severely in accordance with the law.

 

 

 

On January 27th, the official Weibo account of the Yiwu Public Security Bureau in Zhejiang Province released a police report: On the evening of January 25th, after receiving clues about the existence of fake masks in Yiwu, our bureau immediately cooperated with the Market Supervision and Administration Bureau to take action. It is now confirmed that Wang Sucheng (male, from Yugan, Jiangxi) and Tian Junjun (male, from Binxian, Heilongjiang) sold counterfeit "3M" protective masks through WeChat. Shao Moujuan (female, from Jiande, Zhejiang), Mao Moujuan (female, from Yiwu, Zhejiang) and others purchased and sold from Wang Sucheng and Tian Junjun to others. At present, Wang, Shao, Mao, Shao, Lu, and others have been criminally detained by the police on suspicion of selling counterfeit and inferior products, while Tian is at large.

 

  5. Crime of producing and selling medical equipment that does not meet standards

  any sellers claim that the products they are selling are "medical surgical masks," but when buyers receive them, they find that they are only ordinary disposable medical masks, some even ordinary disposable non-woven masks. How to characterize this behavior?

  During the prevention and control of sudden outbreaks of infectious diseases and other disasters, the production of medical devices or medical hygiene materials that do not meet the national or industry standards for safeguarding human health for the prevention and control of infectious diseases, or the sale of medical devices or medical hygiene materials that knowingly do not meet the national or industry standards for safeguarding human health for the prevention and control of infectious diseases, without the function of protection or treatment, is sufficient to seriously endanger human health, According to Article 145 of the Criminal Law, the crime of producing or selling medical equipment that does not meet the standards shall be convicted and a heavier punishment shall be imposed in accordance with the law.

  If consumers are unsure of the authenticity of the medical masks they have purchased, they can log in to the National Drug Administration - Medical Devices - Medical Device Query - Medical Device Column - Domestic/Imported Medical Device Products (Registration) - Domestic Medical Device Equipment (Filing), and enter the product registration certificate number on the mask package for inquiry.

  6. Crime of illegal business operation

  Did the original 12 yuan mask sell for 128 yuan? How much does a cabbage cost nearly ten times more? What should be the crime of spreading epidemic wealth?

  Those who violate the relevant market operation and price management regulations of the state during the prevention and control of sudden infectious disease epidemics and other disasters, drive up prices, seek exorbitant profits, seriously disrupt market order, have a large amount of illegal gains, or have other serious circumstances, shall be convicted of the crime of illegal business operations in accordance with Article 225 (4) of the Criminal Law, and shall be given a heavier punishment in accordance with the law.

  On January 28th, the Tianjin market regulatory official WeChat announced that a pharmacy in Tianjin has been investigated for selling N95 masks for a high price of 128 yuan, originally priced at 12 yuan. When the market supervision department arrived at the pharmacy, the salesperson stated that they were out of stock, but their warehouse was stocked with a large number of N95 masks. The market supervision department ordered this pharmacy to suspend operations on the spot in accordance with the law and accept further investigation and handling. As of the time of publication, the administrative penalty hearing notice has been delivered to the unit, and it is planned to impose an administrative penalty of 3 million yuan on the unit.

 

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Image source: Tianjin Market Regulation Official Weibo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  On January 27th, according to the WeChat official account "Zhengzhou Release" of the Propaganda Department of the Zhengzhou Municipal Party Committee, a netizen posted that the price of cabbage in a supermarket in Zhengzhou has skyrocketed, with a cabbage sold at a high price of 63 yuan. At present, the Zhengzhou Market Supervision Bureau has intervened in the investigation, conducted administrative interviews with supermarket managers, and imposed an administrative penalty of 500000 yuan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zhengzhou Releases WeChat Official Account

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Crime of obstructing official duties

 

 

 

 

 

  Not satisfied with the persuasion and persuasion of government officials, or even violent disobedience? It's also against the law!

 

 

 

 

  Those who use violence or threats to obstruct state organs or Red Cross staff members from fulfilling prevention and control measures such as epidemic prevention, quarantine, compulsory isolation, isolation treatment, etc. taken in accordance with the law to prevent and control sudden infectious disease outbreaks and other disasters shall be convicted and punished for the crime of obstructing official duties in accordance with the provisions of Article 277 (1) and (3) of the Criminal Law.

 

 

 

  On January 27th, the Public Security Bureau of Ningxiang City, Hunan Province issued a police report stating that a man who returned to Ningxiang from Hubei Province did not obey the persuasion of the staff, repeatedly insulted the staff, and even drove into the police station, chased and attacked the police officers with a knife, and was ultimately criminally detained.

 

 

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Image source: Ningxiang Police Official Weibo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8、Crime of illegal acquisition, transportation, and sale of precious and endangered wildlife

 

 

 

 

 

Is it illegal to sell wild animals such as civets, pangolins, and bats?

 

 

 

 

Yes, knowing or should know that it is a precious or endangered wild animal and its products under national key protection, and illegally purchasing them for consumption or other purposes, violates the crime of illegally purchasing, transporting, or selling precious or endangered wild animals under Article 341 (1) of the Criminal Law.

 

 

 

Preliminary information from the national disease control department and professional researchers shows that the source of this novel coronavirus, like SARS, points to wild animals. From SARS to the new type of pneumonia, there have always been people who refuse to change their habits of consuming wild animals, and there have always been people who are motivated by their interests to illegally purchase, manage, and sell wild animals. These behaviors not only may cause virus harm to people, but also may put themselves in prison.

 

The crime of illegal acquisition, transportation, and sale of precious and endangered wildlife is a selective offense. Acquisition includes purchasing behavior for profit, self use, etc. Transportation includes transportation using methods such as carrying, mailing, utilizing others, and using transportation. Sale includes selling and processing and utilizing behavior for profit. The defendant has committed any one or more of the above behaviors, They should be convicted based on their actions.

9、The use of the epidemic to commit fraud

Up to now, the national public security organs have cracked 1116 cases of epidemic related fraud, arrested 294 suspect, and recovered more than 6.6 million yuan of stolen money. At present, there are three main types of fraud cases related to the epidemic: firstly, criminals falsely claim to be able to purchase or stock up on medical masks. When the victim pays for the purchase, the criminals find various reasons to refuse to ship or blackmail; Secondly, illegal individuals impersonate charitable or civil affairs departments to send false information about "giving love" to users for epidemic prevention and control, or build false official websites to use the sympathy of the masses to deceive donations; The third is to cheat by pretending to be an acquaintance. Illegal people infiltrate QQ and WeChat groups to cheat money by pretending to be members of the group to prevent and control novel coronavirus. The above behavior is suspected of violating the crime of fraud under Article 266 of the Criminal Law, and criminal responsibility should be strictly pursued in accordance with the law.

Lawyer Yang Juan suggests:Please do not click on unfamiliar links; Special caution should be exercised when filling out requirements such as ID card information, bank card information, passwords, and verification codes. If there are situations such as ticket refunds and reservations, they must be processed through the official phone or website. If making a donation, please contact the official foundation donation channel. Be cautious about buying and selling on social media. If necessary, only channels introduced by acquaintances, successfully purchased products, and qualified products can be considered.

10、Disposal of hazardous waste in violation of regulations during epidemic prevention and control

Those who violate relevant national regulations such as the Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases by discharging, dumping, or disposing of waste, toxic substances, or other hazardous waste containing infectious disease pathogens into land, water bodies, or the atmosphere are suspected of violating Article 338 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China and constituting the crime of environmental pollution.

11、Corruption, embezzlement, and misappropriation of epidemic prevention funds and materials

Embezzlement, misappropriation of funds and materials used for disaster relief, special treatment and relief to prevent and control the novel coronavirus epidemic, or misappropriation for personal use, are suspected of violating the provisions of Articles 382, 383, 271, 384, 272 and 273 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, and constitute crimes of corruption, official embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds The crime of misappropriating funds or the crime of misappropriating specific funds and property.

12、During the epidemic prevention and control period, personnel responsible for epidemic prevention and control abuse their power and neglect their duties

In the work of preventing and controlling the novel coronavirus epidemic, the staff of state organs and the staff of state-owned companies, enterprises and institutions who are responsible for organizing, coordinating, directing, disaster investigation, control, medical treatment, information transmission, transportation, and material security abuse their power or neglect their duties, causing heavy losses to public property and the interests of the state and the people, Suspected of violating the provisions of Articles 397 and 168 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, which constitutes the crime of abuse of power, dereliction of duty, dereliction of duty by personnel of state-owned companies or enterprises, abuse of power by personnel of state-owned companies or enterprises, dereliction of duty by personnel of state-owned public institutions, or abuse of power by personnel of state-owned public institutions.

During the period of prevention and control of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the staff of the government health administration department engaged in the prevention and control of infectious diseases, or the public servants in the organizations entrusted by the government health administration department to exercise their functions and powers on behalf of the government health administration department, or the public servants in the government health administration department who are not included in the staffing of the government health administration department, when exercising their functions and powers on behalf of the government health administration department, Those who are seriously irresponsible and lead to the spread or prevalence of infectious diseases are suspected of violating the provisions of Article 409 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, and constitute the crime of dereliction of duty in the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

In addition, the "Interpretation on Several Issues Concerning the Specific Application of Laws in Handling Criminal Cases of Obstruction, Prevention, and Control of Sudden Infectious Disease Epidemic and Other Disasters" issued by the two high authorities stipulates the crimes of dereliction of duty by personnel of state-owned companies, enterprises, and institutions, or the abuse of their power by personnel of state-owned companies, enterprises, and institutions, false advertising, robbery, incitement to split the country or incite subversion of state power, provocation and trouble making, and illegal medical practice, There are also relevant regulations regarding the crime of major environmental pollution accidents.