Rumour Buster: separating truth from fiction amid the Occupy protests

From traumatic ambulance delays to fears of further police action, the South China Morning Post sets the record straight on rumours circulating on social media and heard on the street. 


  • Rumour: Chief Secretary Carrie Lam tendered her resignation after the use of tear gas by police last Sunday.
  • Truth: Carrie Lam says she has no intention of resigning.


  • Rumour: People’s Liberation Army soldiers were deployed to help Hong Kong police repress the protests. Pictures of armoured personnel carriers on the roads were circulated on social media.
  • Truth: Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government had no intention of seeking help from the PLA.


  • Rumour: A policeman’s relative has posted a message claiming riot police had fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd on September 28.
  • Truth: Police said they did not use rubber bullets.


  • Rumour: An audio message allegedly sent by student leader Joshua Wong, which went viral on September 28, asked people to occupy Mong Kok.
  • Truth: Scholarism says the message is fake. Wong was in police detention that day.


  • Rumour: Civil servants working at the Central Government Offices in Tamar on September 29 were asked to evacuate the complex immediately, prompting speculation that large-scale police action was under way to break up the rally.
  • Truth: There was a notice asking departments to allow staff to leave the office earlier to avoid heavy traffic during peak hours because of the protests.


  • Rumour: An ambulance taking a pregnant woman to Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai was delayed because of a roadblock set up by protesters. As a result, her baby suffered brain damage.
  • Truth: The Hospital Authority said there was no report of such an incident. And there is no obstetrics unit at Ruttonjee Hospital.


  • Rumour: A woman went on an RTHK phone-in programme on September 29 claiming that her family could not get to hospital in time to say goodbye to their dying daughter-in-law that day. She blamed the blockade set up by protesters. She said she and her family got stuck in traffic for four hours while trying to cross the harbour tunnel.
  • Truth: There was no report of serious traffic congestion in any of the harbour crossings on September 28.


  • Rumour: Protesters broke the window of a police vehicle. A photograph of it was circulated online.
  • Truth: The photograph was digitally altered.


  • Rumour: A letter, supposedly written by Chinese University vice-chancellor Professor Joseph Sung and shared online, criticised the opposition camp for acting like communists to fight for an anti-communist goal. He also allegedly described the Occupy Central protests as “red-guard style”.
  • Fact: Chinese University said the letter was fabricated.


  • Rumour: An audio message sent by a social worker, circulated online on September 29, warned that triad members were paid HK$800 each to recruit vandals to descend on the Mong Kok sit-in.
  • Fact: The social worker admitted it was only hearsay.
    PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 October, 2014, 2:59pm
    UPDATED : Sunday, 05 October, 2014, 3:05pm

  • #HongKongprotest    #UmbrellaRevolution