Latvian fake news distributor regrets call to “eliminate the Chinese”

Niks Endziņš, accused of spreading fake news, regrets his post on Facebook to "eliminate the Chinese". The criminal case will continue to be reviewed in October, Latvian Television reported on September 7.

“Yeah, I'm very sorry for what I've done. If I had known that something could happen at all, I would not have filmed any videos or published them on social networks,” Endziņš said.

Niks Endziņš was detained by the State Police at the end of January – after he falsely claimed that a woman infected with a dangerous virus had arrived in Latvia from China and had traveled through Riga to the hospital in public transport. The video also featured hate-ridden statements toward the Chinese. 

Endziņš asked to invite a witness to the proceedings, but refused to reveal who the witness was.

The prosecutor, Dace Lapinska, did not yet reveal what punishment would be required, but said that Endziņš had committed the crime repeatedly and that the law also provided for deprivation of liberty of up to 5 years.

"Such cases must certainly take into account the public's interests. It will also be the primary. And this damage done. Today, officials from the Ministry of Health and representatives of the victim  gave testimony and explained what damage was done to medical institutions and the general public. As you know, there was a great deal of outrage in the public in January. Because in other countries the COVID-19 infection was widespread. This will be taken into account at the imposition of the penalty.

The attitude of the defendant himself. The sanction is extensive, stoking hatred is a serious crime that involves imprisonment of up to 5 years. I heard the defendant's attitude in the courtroom. The attitude makes you think he doesn't regret what he has done. Because the guilt is only partly confessed," said the prosecutor.

As previously reported by LSM, in 2018 State Police arrested Endziņš for spreading fake news that disrupted public peace and the operations of companies and institutions. Endziņš is already being tried for hooliganism in connection with misleading information published on his websites. The fake news stories dealt with all kinds of disasters, traffic accidents and suchlike, for instance, collapsing shopping malls, falling planes, major car crashes, with the goal of luring as many visitors as possible to the websites.

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