Australian Man Charged Over Fake Video Plotting to Topple Government, Police Say
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - An Australian man was charged with impersonating a public official following a probe into a fake video circulating on the internet showing Australia’s federal police (AFP) commissioner allegedly plotting to overthrow the government, the AFP reported on Monday.
"A 49-year-old man from Tuart Hill is scheduled to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on Monday, 16 August 2021," the police stated.
The man claimed to be an AFP officer during a failed attempt to get official police stamps and ID badges. The man was charged with impersonation of Commonwealth public officials, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
The operation began two weeks ago when six search warrants were issued in three Australian states to disrupt the activities of the group, responsible for airing a fake video on social media, which showed an AFP official calling for a government overthrow. Three boxes of replica AFP badges were reported to have been found in the house of one member.
"The general public needs to know that a video purporting to be of the AFP Commissioner calling for people to join in a plan to create a new government is complete and utter nonsense – it is not from the Commissioner, it is not from the AFP and has absolutely no credibility," AFP Assistant Commissioner Counter Terrorism Scott Lee said.
No evidence proving the group's ability to conduct specific acts in support of their anti-government statements was found. Further investigation into the group’s activities is underway.
The police arrested the 49-year-old man on Monday as part of crackdown on a group discussing establishing a separate branch of the police force and staging a coup.