What FIR says about pro-Palestine pitch invader who interrupted ICC World Cup final

A preliminary probe has revealed Wen Johnson, 24, is a habitual offender

pitch-invader-palestine-world-cup-virat-kohli A pitch invader stands next to India's Virat Kohli during the World Cup final | AFP

Wen Johnson, the 24-year-old Australian arrested for invading the pitch during Sunday's ICC World Cup 2023 in Ahmedabad, was remanded in one-day police custody by a Gandhinagar court.  

Donning a pro-Palestine T-shirt, mask and rainbow flag, Johnson ran into the pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium and approached star India batter Virat Kohli. 

pitch-invader-palestine-world-cup-final (2) The man made it to the field without being noticed by the guards | AFP

The incident that happened just before the drinks break briefly interrupted the India - Australia final. However, the youngster was quickly apprehended and removed from the field by security personnel.

The Australian was then arrested by Chandkheda police on charges of criminal trespass (section 447) and causing hurt to deter public servants from doing their duty (section 332), reported news agency PTI.

The Crime Branch was later tasked to deal with the pitch invader by the city police commissioner, the news agency added. It was the Crime Branch sleuths who presented Wen Johnson in a court in Gandhinagar to seek his remand for further probe.

pitch-invader-palestine-world-cup-final (1) The pitch invader being removed from the ground | AFP

According to the police, the youth jumped the 'Point number R-88' of the stadium, manned by 15 policemen, to make a rush towards Virat Kohli. 

According to Wen Johnson's lawyer, his police custody will come to an end by 5:00 PM on Tuesday. However, the Crime Branch had sought 10-day custody on various grounds.

What the FIR says about the 'Virat fan' from Australia

As per the FIR, after entering the World Cup final venue as a spectator, Wen Johnson jumped the railing and ran towards the pitch in a desperate attempt to hug Virat Kohli. He pushed aside on-duty policemen on his way, the report said.

Johnson wore a face mask bearing the design of the Palestine flag and a T-shirt with 'Stop bombing Palestine' and 'Save Palestine' slogans written on the front and back sides.

The ICC doesn't allow any political sloganeering during events organised by the global governing body of cricket and no act is allowed in India.

A preliminary probe has revealed Johnson is a habitual offender and was booked in his country for invading sports fields in the past, police inspector Viraj Jadeja said on Sunday.

In some 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.

According to a Crime Branch release issued on Monday, Johnson had invaded the field during the FIFA Women's World Cup football match this year wearing a 'Free Ukraine' T-shirt.

Similarly, he went into the field during a 'State of Origin III' rugby match in Australia's Brisbane in 2020.

"Johnson is in the habit of associating himself with any current international issue and invading fields just to get publicity to become famous as a TikToker," the release said.

pitch-invader-palestine-world-cup-final "FREE PALESTINE", the T-shirt read in the back | AFP

Who is Wen Johnson?

"A probe has revealed his father is of Chinese origin while his mother is from The Philippines. He lives in Sydney and works with a solar panel firm," said the release.

It was revealed that Johnson had put on the blue jersey of the Indian team over the T-shirt that had the pro-Palestine slogans. He then removed the jersey before running towards Kohli.

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