Meow Meow Hands Himself In!

The world faces many grave threats.  Terrorism, an increase from aggression in Russia and North Korea, the effects of global warming and now joining the list bio hackers using Sydney’s public transport.

No that is not a typo, news spread today of the curious case of a man named Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow and his non-traditional use of an Opal card.

Mr Meow Meow describes himself as a bio hacker.  He used this profession (if indeed it is one) to remove the chip from his Opal Card and have it implanted into his hand by a piercing expert  Presumably this was all done to achieve the dubious benefit of being able to tap on and off with his hand as opposed to using the Card itself (I know the microseconds saved will add up to a whole year in about 100 years time!).

Unfortunately for Mr Meow Meow the Passenger Transport (General) Regulation 2017 defines a “smartcard” as a card issued on or behalf of Transport for New South Wales.  It then includes “smartcard” in the definition of “ticket” and goes on to prohibit travel on public transport without a valid ticket.  Passengers are also required to produce a valid ticket on request by an authorised officer.

He was duly prosecuted for travelling without a valid ticket and for failing to produce a valid ticket.  He was fined $220 and orders to pay $1,000 in legal costs.

There are a number of remarkable things about this case.  The first is that Mr Meow Meow’s name is Mr Meow Meow.  One can only assume that he was not named this way at birth and that he chose to legally alter his name at some point.  This suggests that he may have bigger concerns than just his transport offences, but who are we to judge?

Secondly Mr Meow Meow did not fare evade.  He paid for his travel and was presumably able to prove as much.  Notwithstanding that he did breach the regulations, although the question must be asked if the information can still be accessed what purpose does that regulation serve?

Finally, the true oddity is that this matter ever made it to a Court room at all.  The matters listed at the start of this column were somewhat tongue in cheek, but there are practical things that are so much more worthy of government spending than the prosecution of Mr Meow Meow.  That money could have been spent hiring more Local Court Magistrates, increasing funding to LegalAid, hiring more registry staff or taking any number of measures to help reduce Court waiting times.  Hey, it could have even been used to chase people that haven’t actually paid for their trip!

Perhaps this column is best finished with some wise words from Mr Meow Meow (there’s a phrase I never thought I would type!) who warned off others from doing as he had done saying “Most certainly don’t try this at home unless you know what you are doing”.  Perhaps he should have added “and you can afford to pay the fine”.