Three young women who face allegations of fraud and are believed to have entered Queensland illegally have been linked to a new case in the state.
Haja Timbo, 21, Olivia Muranga, 19, and Diana Lasu, 21, face up to five years in gaol after returning from a trip to Melbourne, via Sydney, back to Queensland.
A 27-year-old man who had dinner in a restaurant in Brisbane where one of the women was supposed to have been on July 23 screened coronavirus positive.
He has links to three people, two of whom are nurses, who work at an aged care facility in Brisbane.
“The investigation into the three women who have returned from Victoria into Queensland has obviously resulted in charges,” Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said.
“They will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 28 September and this obviously is for providing false information and fraud charges.”
Authorities are also investigating the possible ties of women to a professional criminal syndicate, and whether they were advising the girls about how to cross the border illegally.
They are also investigating whether the women had any role in the suspected theft of luxury handbags in Sydney and Melbourne over two days.
It is known that there are claims that the women’s phones used were lost. Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police have a high degree of trust that they have all the facts and information they need about the case.
Commissioner Gollschewski said he was unaware of an investigation into the possible ties between the women and a crime syndicate.
Also, Commissioner Carroll expressed her frustration at some response from the community to the women’s situation.
“We have seen community members making comments about certain cultural groups and ethnicities. This is not productive at all,” she said.
“People doing the wrong thing come from all walks of life, backgrounds and community groups.
“So it is important, especially in these times, that community groups actually come together rather than fracture.”
Leaders of the African community have asked for calm and cooperation as details of the women’s movements continue to emerge.
“Nobody is happy by the conduct of the girls, they’ve put their own families at risk, they’ve put the whole community at risk and we are unhappy for what they’ve done,” Queensland African Communities Council spokesman Beny Bol said.
“It is time for us to unite. The virus does not actually discriminate. So there’s no correlation between the virus and the racial background so it is important for us to work together.”