Queensland Police have hit out at comments made by members of the public towards two women accused of breaching border protection laws during the coronavirus pandemic.
Diana Lasu, 21, Olivia Muranga, 19 and a 21-year-old Algester woman were charged on Thursday with fraud and providing misleading information.
The three are accused of lying on border declarations when returning to Queensland from Melbourne via Sydney. They are alleged to have attended an illegal party in the coronavirus hotspot of Melbourne.
On their return to Queensland they allegedly did not go into quarantine and mixed with the community for eight days.
Diana Lasu and Olivia Muranga tested positive to the virus after visiting a number of South East Queensland venues and are now in a Brisbane hospital.
One of their sisters has also tested positive. The third woman who went to Melbourne has so far tested negative.
Police warn abuse ‘not productive at all’
While the pair have been widely vilified, Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll is concerned the pair have been targets for racial abuse.
“We have seen community members making comments about certain cultural groups and ethnicities,” she told reporters on Friday.
“This is not productive at all.
“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.”
Ms Muranaga’s brother Eddie suggested the amount of abuse they have copped over what he calls a ‘mistake’ is due to their race.
The maximum penalty the women can face for fraud is five years imprisonment, while they are facing a potential fine of up to $13,345 for their border declaration breaches.
Another criminal investigation involving the women is also proceeding, which is unrelated and not connected to their alleged travel to Victoria.
Queensland recorded one new case of coronavirus on Friday - a Bellbird Park man, 27, whose illness is being traced back to the three women.
The trio are due to face court on September 28.
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