American man faces deportation for falsely claiming Covid-19 infection

By Giang Chinh   April 15, 2020 | 11:29 pm PT
American man faces deportation for falsely claiming Covid-19 infection
Au Joseph Elhayboubi (L) is questioned by a police officer in Hai Phong City, March 22, 2020. Photo courtesy of Hai Phong Police.
An American in northern port city of Hai Phong faces deportation after falsely claiming he was Covid-19 positive, authorities said Wednesday.

Au Joseph Elhayboubi, 32, had entered Vietnam last October, and his visa allowed him to stay until January 25. Previously, since May 2018, he had tried several times to enter Vietnam for traveling and working in foreign language centers, but failed. Further details of his earlier attempts were not available at publication time.

After entering Vietnam, he traveled to several localities and applied for jobs. He came to Hai Phong in January and applied for a job at a local English center, but failed. He left and visited several other places before returning to the northern city on March 22 and taking up temporary residency on Lach Tray Street.

He then reported to authorities that he had Covid-19. He was taken to the Viet Tiep Hospital to be monitored, but caused such a commotion that he had to be quarantined in a separate room.

Elhayboubi later tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

Police said it was likely that he did not have enough money to get by and couldn't return to the U.S. as international flights in Vietnam are currently suspended under Covid-19 prevention policies.

He came up with the Covid-19 ploy so he would be provided accommodation and food in Vietnam, they said.

Elhayboubi finished his quarantine period on April 3. A report was filed against him by the Hai Phong Police department for overstaying his visa, and they are recommending that he is fined and deported to the U.S.

Vietnam has confirmed 268 Covid-19, 97 of them active and the rest discharged. The global death toll has been reported at over 134,600, with the pandemic spreading to 210 countries and territories.

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