HK police arrest man 'for spreading fake virus news' - RTHK
A A A
Temperature Humidity
News Archive Can search within past 12 months

HK police arrest man 'for spreading fake virus news'

2020-02-04 HKT 18:24
Share this story facebook
  • Police declared on social media that 'the rumour-monger was arrested!'. File photo: AFP
    Police declared on social media that 'the rumour-monger was arrested!'. File photo: AFP
Hong Kong police said on Tuesday that they had arrested a man for "spreading fake information" about the Wuhan virus.

In a post on social media, the force said the man, a part-time security guard, had falsely claimed that several people working at a shopping mall had come down with fever and had called in sick.

"The rumour-monger was arrested!" the police proclaimed in a post in Chinese on Facebook and Twitter.

They claimed that the man had tried to exaggerate the extent of the virus outbreak, "causing panic" among the public.

While appealing to people not to share false information, the force said any attempt to cause people to have unnecessary anxiety is illegal.

"The police call on all members of the public to join hands in fighting the epidemic instead of propagating misinformation," it said.

Hong Kong has no "fake news" law and while the police said the man had been arrested for "transmission of false message by telecommunication", it was not clear exactly which offence he was suspected of committing.

Some suggested it could be the Summary Offences Ordinance, which states that anyone who sends messages which they know to be false "for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to any other person" can be fined HK$1,000 or jailed for up to two months.