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California man arrested after sharing Hawaii quarantine order violations on social media

A California man has been charged with violating the state’s mandatory quarantine for arriving passengers after citizens reported he posted images of himself at various locations across Oahu, state officials said today.

Special agents with the state Attorney General’s office had been searching for Abdulla Aliyev, also known as Turgut Aliev, daily since citizens who had been monitoring his social media posts in Hawaii alerted authorities to his activities, a news release by the state’s COVID-19 Joint Information Center said.

State Attorney General Clare Connors said in the statement that most people in Hawaii have “little tolerance for anyone, either a visitor or returning resident, who flouts the emergency rules” to stop the coronavirus in Hawaii.

“If you are out and about in violation of a self-quarantine order, it is likely you will be reported and arrested,” she said. “We again implore visitors to delay their trips until this pandemic passes and we ask that anyone who arrives here comply with the 14-day self-quarantine rule.”

Connors added that returning residents who violate the state’s quarantine order for travelers will face the same punishment.

The Attorney General’s special agents alerted state deputy sheriffs of Aliyev’s impending departure Saturday, and deputy sheriffs caught up with him at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport one hour before his scheduled flight to Los Angeles.

Aliyev, an Azerbaijanian national who lives in Reseda, Calif., was charged with violating the state’s 14-day mandatory quarantine for arriving passengers and unsworn falsification to authority. His bail was set at $2,000.

His arrest came the same day a Colorado woman was arrested on Maui for violating emergency orders related to the coronavirus. A Maui Police Department Facebook post seeking the woman’s whereabouts went viral, reaching more than 300,000 people in 24 hours and garnering more than 5,000 comments. The woman was arrested about 1:40 a.m. after police responded to a report of a woman refusing to leave a home in Kula.

Aliyev allegedly arrived on Oahu on May 1 and immediately began leaving an Airbnb condominium that he’d rented on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki.

Short-term rentals of under 30 days aren’t considered essential businesses and aren’t allowed to operate under emergency orders.

Under Gov. David Ige’s 14-day quarantine for incoming travelers, visitors must stay in their lodging for the 14 days and are only allowed to leave to seek medical care.

Hawaii officials said Aliyev’s social media posts on YouTube and Instagram showed him on the beach, at Diamond Head, at Foster Botanical Garden and at other locations across the island. He also posted while riding TheBus.

On one of his social media updates, someone wrote that he was violating the state’s COVID-19 emergency rules and Aliyev falsely responded that police had already given him a ticket, the news release said.

On Saturday, airport deputy sheriffs arrested Aliyev after he posted that he was at the airport at about 11:30 a.m. and was leaving in a few hours.

Because of visitors skirting the state’s quarantine order, the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 is considering additional ideas to close quarantine loopholes, said state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D-Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village).

One idea is having Hawaii residents, who are hosting visitors, sign a document making them complicit if the visitor violates the state’s self-quarantine order.

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