In the Cricket World Cup 2023 final, a fan breached a tight security cordon to enter the field of play in a desperate attempt to hug Virat Kohli in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium. The incident created plenty of ruckus in the stadium, prompting the security officals to spring into action. The man has since been booked, and identified as Wen Johnson. Johnson wore a face mask bearing the design of a Palestine flag and a T-shirt with slogans- ‘Stop bombing Palestine’ and ‘Save Palestine’- written on the front and back sides, respectively. He was initially taken to Chandkheda police station but has now been handed over to the crime branch.
The detailed identity of the person has been revealed by JCP Cime Neeraj Kumar Badgujar.
“Yesterday, during the match, a person entered the stadium… It was found that his name is Van Johnson and he is a citizen of Australia. His mother is Indonesian and father is Chinese… Whatever he earns, he uses it to go to various matches and trespasses matches… In 2020, he entered the rugby match, he was fined more than USD 200 and then he was let off… In 2023 also he entered a women’s match, and then he was fined USD 500 dollars… He entered the match yesterday to become famous… He entered the stadium through gate number 1 wearing a blue t shirt supporting the Indian team… then he just jumped above the 6.5-foot-high fencing covered with barbed wire. His hands were also injured… An FIR was registered… Now the investigation has been transferred to the crime branch… We got the remand for 1 day,” JCP Crime Neeraj Kumar Badgujar told ANI.
#WATCH | Ahmedabad, Gujarat: JCP Crime Neeraj Kumar Badgujar says, “Yesterday, during the match, a person entered the stadium… It was found that his name is Van Johnson and he is a citizen of Australia. His mother is Indonesian and father is Chinese… Whatever he earns, he… pic.twitter.com/hp4TgJXLPR
— ANI (@ANI) November 20, 2023
The incident happened before the first drinks break. The security personnel immediately apprehended the man.
“The Australian national, identified as Wen Johnson, has been detained and booked on the charges of trespassing and obstructing public servants in discharge of duty,” said Viraj Jadeja, inspector, Chandkheda police station.
The ICC doesn’t allow any political sloganeering during events organised by the global governing body of cricket and any such act is also not allowed in India.
A preliminary probe has revealed that Johnson is a habitual offender and was booked in his country for invading sports fields in the past, said Jadeja.
“Johnson told us that he is a fan of Virat Kohli and wanted to meet him during the match. He wore the pro-Palestine T-shirt just for the sake of it. Otherwise, his main aim was to meet Kohli,” the police officer said.
Johnson was detained after the registration of FIR in the evening.
In some of the videos and photos he has shared on his Instagram handle ‘pyjamamann’, Johnson can be seen invading fields during football games and being taken away by security personnel.
In one such photo, Johnson can be seen wearing a T-shirt saying “Free Ukraine” as he intruded a pitch.
Johnson put on a normal T-shirt over the one with pro-Palestine slogans to enter the stadium. He then removed the outer T-shirt before running towards Kohli, who was batting at that time, Jadeja said.
When asked about his motive, Johnson told reporters at the police station that he wanted to meet Kohli and that he was wearing the T-shirt with the slogans because he supports Palestine.
Israel and Palestine group Hamas have been engaged in a war since October 7.
With PTI inputs
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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