NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) — A controversial yoga studio owner and COVID-19 conspiracy theorist charged with three counts of breaking the Quarantine Act is being held in custody after being arrested by New Westminster police earlier this week.
Police arrested 47-year-old Makhan Singh Parhar, of New Westminster, on Monday for repeated violations under the Quarantine Act after re-entering Canada from the United States. He is being held in custody, according to New Westminster police.
“Despite being reminded of the federal legislation that requires travelers to self-isolate under the Quarantine Act, and receiving a violation ticket, Makhan Singh Parhar refused to comply and continued leaving his residence,” says a release from Sgt. Sanjay Kumar. “Our priority is the safety of New Westminster residents. Violations of the Quarantine Act put others at risk. Travelers are required to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms. This is something we take very seriously.”
On his Facebook page, Parhar says he recently attended a flat-earth conference — a conspiracy theory the Earth is a flat plane and not a globe — in South Carolina and refused to self-isolate for two weeks once he returned home to the Lower Mainland.
Speaking at an anti-mask rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery Sunday, he said he “played their game” on the flight by wearing a mask on board but removing it when he was off “the radar.” Parhar also admitted to the crowd he ignored multiple warnings from officers before being handed tickets.
Parhar told the crowd he refused to provide information to officials such as a quarantine plan and said he does not apply to the Quarantine Act, saying he is not defined as a “traveller” or a “person.”
He allegedly violated the Quarantine Act for three days between Oct 31 to Nov. 2, according to court records.
Failure to comply with the Quarantine Act could lead to max fines of up to $300,000 or even six months in jail for a summary conviction. If a person caused serious bodily harm or imminent death by recklessly or willfully contravening the act, they could see fines of up to $1 million and possibly three years in prison.
Parhar is expected to make an appearance in New Westminster provincial court on Nov. 16.