The Australian man, who entered Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad’s Motera during the India-Australia final match last Sunday, is a habitual offender and was declared a “public nuisance” by a US court for invading sports arenas.
Wen Johnson, 24, had worn an Indian team fan jersey over a T-shirt that showed support to Palestine. He entered the heavily-secured stadium on a valid ticket, taken off his top jersey to jump the barricade and run on to the field, resisting security personnel.
Johnson was sent to police custody for a day by a Gandhinagar court.
The Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) put out a CCTV camera footage where the accused is seen running from the stands in a white T-shirt, scaling a 6.5-ft wire fence and dodging and pushing security personnel to run up to Kohli in the 15th over of India’s innings during the ICC Men’s World Cup final match with Australia.
Johnson was sitting in Block B of the stadium and had bought a ticket worth Rs 3,500. He entered the stadium from gate 1, the police said.
Ahmedabad City Joint Commissioner (Crime) Neeraj Badgujar said: “We got to know that he has an Australian passport, his mother is of Filipino origin and his father is Chinese. He is a science graduate there (in Sydney) and works in a solar panel installation company. He spends money on his videos… (invading) different matches to get popular on social media.”
“In 2020, he had invaded a Brisbane Rugby match and was fined more than $200. He also created nuisance in public places and was fined in 2021. In August, he had invaded the FIFA Women’s World Cup (with a ‘Free Ukraine’ T-shirt), for which he was fined $500. (In Sunday’s incident), he thought he would only be fined and left alone in one or two hours and there isn’t much punishment for this (crime),” he added.
Badgujar further said, “Currently, one of the topics of discussion in Australia is Palestine and cricket World Cup is also very popular there. He thought that he would go to the World Cup final and booked his ticket through BookMyShow. Initially, he thought the final is in Russia… then he realised that the final is in India and booked Air India tickets and got e-visa. He took a flight from Sydney via Delhi and reached Ahmedabad on November 11… he stayed in three or four hotels.”
“He entered the stadium at 1 pm and around 3 pm, when Kohli was batting, he made a run for the pitch. The police personnel tried to catch him but he climbed the 6.5-ft fence with barbed wires, which injured his hands… After the fence, he also jumped a 3-ft LED board… he ran in zig-zag fashion to reach the pitch.”
According to Badgujar, Johnson would perform stunts such as these to get famous and had bought a flag and mask from Australia. To run fast on grass, Johnson also got special shoes from Australia, he added.
Deputy Commissioner Of Police (Crime) Chaitanya Mandlik said, “A court in the US has declared him a public nuisance. We have informed the Australian Embassy about his arrest.”
Johnson was booked on Sunday under sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to any person being a public servant in discharge of his duty) and 447 (criminal trespass) of the Indian Penal Code.